(2011 / corr.2018)
for solo clarinet
Alboque, for solo clarinet, forms part of a cycle of works for various solo instruments, which started with Hornpipe (1997/rev.1999) for horn and that already includes also Chirimia (2002/rev.2012) for oboe [or soprano-saxophone]. For the near future, other pieces are planned, namely for marimba, alto-saxophone, flute and bassoon.
The main feature of this cycle is the extreme level of virtuosity required from the player, be it by the use of extended techniques amongst the most modern for each instrument (such as extreme registers, quarter-tones, flatterzunge, multiphonics, etc.), or the endurance needed for the performance. However, all this is combined in a writing that is deliberately fantastical and, at least apparently, very free, almost improvisatory, despite the extremely rigorous notation. Hence, one of the goals of these pieces is also to appeal to the performer’s imagination.
Being a truly work in progress project (that I intend to develop along with my composing career), this cycle immediately brings to memory one very famous predecessor, the Sequenzas by Luciano Berio. In fact, I do not refuse their influence on my own solo oeuvres, especially the more “lyrical” side of Berio’s writing; actually in my “solos” I too tried to mingle, amidst all the virtuosity, a certain lyricism in the musical language that perhaps stems from my Mediterranean origins and the natural brightness so typical of the southern Europe countries.
The term alboque (or alboka) refers to a kind of hornpipe, traditional in the Basque Country, and using a simple reed. Worn by shepherds, it may have been introduced in the Iberian Peninsula during the Arab invasions, and it’s precisely the characteristic of using a single reed that puts it as a sort of forerunner of the clarinet, despite no direct links between the two instruments are known at all.
Alboque is dedicated to Victor Pereira, a longtime friend and colleague of so many musical adventures, as well as a highly talented musician and a much-praised soloist of REMIX-ensemble from Casa da Música (Porto).