Chansons de la Nature pour la Clarinette
Chansons de la Nature pour la Clarinette began as an exercise to write for solo clarinet in order to learn more about the instrument and its abilities. Each little piece represents a story as told by the clarinet’s agile voice. The French titles and basis of the pieces were inspired by the lyrical and pastoral quality of the French language and the images it invokes. The piece is also inspired by the images presented in Aesop’s fables (and Jean de la Fontain’s retelling of them); in particular, the movement “Le Lapin et La Tortue” tells of the slow tortoise beating the fast hare with his patience and determination. Both creatures are represented in this movement, from the plodding of the tortoise to the quick movements of the hare.
The other movements also represent a variety of characters and situations from these famous fables. “Le Poisson” darts, “Le Papillon” flutters and floats, “L’etoile” shimmers in the night sky, nature ‘dances’, and ‘Le Serpent’ is slippery and quick. Each movement is short, but just long enough to evoke a story and create a ‘song of nature’ for the clarinet.
These examples are performed by Nobuko Igarashi of the Luna Nova New Music Ensemble from a concert in Memphis, TN in October 2008.
II. Le Poisson - mp3 (791K)
III. Le Papillon - mp3 (1513k)
V. L'étoile - mp3 (2152k)
VII. Le Serpent - mp3 (668k)
Read a review from the Society of Composers National
Conference at the University of Central Oklahoma in 2004 by Guy Vollen :
"Two more works for clarinets concluded the program. Performed
unaccompanied by Charya Wolfe, Jenni Brandon's Chanson de la
Nature pour la Clarinette consisted of seven miniatures that captured
their subjects with just a few brush strokes. The loping
alternation between "La tortue et le lapin" (the tortoise and the hare)
was instantly audible, and Brandon's "Serpent" was more an elusive
prankster than a sinuous tempter."