Pleistocene Epoch: The Great Ice Age tells the story of some of the extinct animals found in the asphalt of the La Brea Tarpits in Los Angeles, California. Written for Jennifer Stevenson of the Vientos Trio, this piece was composed as part of Jenni's residency with the ensemble during the 2008-2009 season.
Take a look at the SCORE
Listen as the bass clarinet imitates the muck through oozing, gurgling, and clicking. You will also hear the musical motives of the other animals in this piece, stuck in the asphalt for over 10,000 years
II. Smilodon Fatalis: Sabertoothed Cat
III. Mammuthus Columbi: Columbian Mammoth
IV. Canis Dirus: Dire Wolf
This piece for solo bass clarinet takes its inspiration from the La Brea Tarpits located in Los Angeles, California. It tells the story of the animals that are constantly being dug out of the asphalt, or the pits, that lived during the Pleistocene Epoch, or the great ice age, over 10,000 years ago.
The bass clarinet gurgles and oozes during “Asphalt,” revealing the musical motives of the extinct animals that we will meet during the piece. The Sabertoothed Cat stalks its prey, sneaking along the ground on the attack. The “Mammuthus Columbi” or the Columbian Mammoth was a huge creature with enormous tusks; a gentle giant that might find itself stuck in the asphalt, leaving it open to attack by dire wolves. These wolves, which hunted in packs, are the most frequently found inhabitants in the La Brea Tarpits, and their multiphonic battle cry leads them into the hunt. By the end of the movement, they, too, have become immersed in the muck, sinking back down into the asphalt to be discovered 10,000 years later.
Each of the animals went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch, but their stories are preserved in the asphalt and told here by the gurgles and oozing of the bass clarinet.