Duke Front Five (2007) is a short work inspired by the brilliant works of one of America’s greatest composers: Duke Ellington, The title is a reference to the front row of five reed players who played everything from tin whistle to bass saxophone. The so-called “Ellington” saxophone sound can be characterized by tight parallel voice leading which I have paired with asymmestrical, minimalistic patterns in the work’s opening section. The form of the piece is a fairly straightforward rondo with a contrasticing mambo idea and a brief four-voice fuge (nods to Ellington’s love of both Afro-Latin and European art music). For the analytically minded, there are lots of mathematical processes involved, but the listener can choose to ignore these if desired! The piece was commissioned by the excellent young clarinet ensemble known as 10th and Broadway who will perform the work at the 2011 International ClarinetFest in Los Angeles.
Parts Included: Clarinet 1-3, Bass Clarinet, Score