for solo clarinet
dedicated to Venancio Rius Martí

Momentum, for Solo Clarinet in Bb - by Martin Kutnowski



Premiered by Venancio Rius Martí at LeFrak Recital Hall, Queens College, New York. December of 1996. Read Review.


I. Riflessivo-Deciso
II. Largo, recitando
III. Scherzando, molto legato
IV. Presto, irrazionale
(live recording by Venancio Rius Martí at Conservatorio Cas Serres, Ibiza. June 2001)

The piece is loosely structured as a four-movement sonata, each exploring a different stage of mind, emotion, and energy. The first movement represents the most essential vital impulse—an outburst growing from the elementary substance of an ascending major seventh. This initial idea is expanded and echoed in various registers and rhythmic transformations. The development of the material, which often creates a "quasi polyphonic" illusion, comes to a close with a climax, rapidly followed by a short epilogue summarizing the movement.

As night follows day, and as relaxation must follow tension, the intense outbreak of the first movement is followed by a highly contrasting slow and thoughtful commentary, perhaps as a way of searching over the mirror image of the previous chapter. Thus the initial major seventh turns into a minor second, "expansion" into "introspection," and both performer and listener suddenly find themselves in an abstract landscape—a dimension where the objects seem to have an almost unknown appearance. The dramatic tension, rather than dissolving, increases, and the stillness creates a sense of uncertainty.

The third movement, a scherzo, features shattered and disrupted remnants of playful melodies. The material of the previous movements is combined, assuming new emotional contours, and revealing surprising and lively possibilities.

The last movement is like a finale: all the latent implications of the themes violently explode in different meters and intervals, leading to a dramatic ending in the form of a cadenza. The work ends quietly, while the echoes of the final expansion die away. In this way the last phrase recalls and summarizes different aspects of the fundamental contrast between action and reaction, tension and relaxation—those opposites of existence that are the inmost motivation of the piece.

Momentum © was selected by North/South Consonance, Inc., for its performance series during the 1997/8 season. It was also recently selected as the required contemporary piece in the V International Competition of Benidorm, Spain.

Copyright © 1996 by Martín Kutnowski, ASCAP. All rights reserved.  

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