Etude II from A Book of Etudes (2007)

for 'cello, clarinet
By Douglas Boyce

Etude II is an extract from a larger work. A Book of Etudes manifest several distinct but interrelated compositional projects. The work (or set of works) contains three etudes so far; when complete the first choir of the Book will encompass five etudes; the entire book (as currently envisioned) will consist of 3 choirs of 5 etudes each. Some of these etudes will be duos, some trios, some solo—all the possible combinations cello, clarinet and piano.

This etude brings the performers into the realm of the composerly, asking them to make many decisions about the order of events and structure of the piece—the work is in some sense improvised, but it is a structural improvisation, in which every note is preordained, but the relationships between groups of notes are not.

A fuller discussion of A Book of Etudes can be found here. [click]

Other works by Douglas Boyce:
“Once when father (George Ives) was asked: 'How can you stand it to hear old John Bell (who was the best stonemason in town) bellow off-key the way he does at camp-meetings?' his answer was: 'Old John is a supreme musician. Look into his face and hear the music of the ages. Don't pay too much attention to the sounds. If you do, you may miss the music. You won't get a heroic ride to Heaven on pretty little sounds!'”
--Charles Ives