Clarinet & Piano Feature
A very complex and masterful work, Double Star celebrates the friendships we acquire through the art of music. Written for the advanced ensemble, each movement paints a musical picture of the different lights generated by a Double Star, two stars that are gravitationally bound and therefore move in orbit around a common center of mass.
Double Star was commissioned by Gary Green and the University of Miami Wind Ensemble to celebrate his friendship with Ellen Rowe (pianist), Maggie Donaghue and myself. The work, therefore, celebrates humanity, especially in the goodness we achieve and the friendship we acquire through the art of music. The title of the work comes from the astronomical phenomenon by the same name, "two stars that are gravitationally bound and hence move in an elliptical orbit around the common center of mass." www.skywatch.com Certainly we can count Ellen Rowe and Maggie Donaghue as two "stars" who are gravitationally bound to the world of music.
Each movement paints a musical picture of the type of light that I have imagined would be radiated by these stars. The first movement, Bright Light, is cast in sonata form preceded by a slow introduction. Two moods are fluctuated in the movement corresponding to two interpretations of "bright, " one being somewhat inhibiting, and the other being joyful. The first theme group represents the former and second theme group represents the latter. The second movement, Warm Light, is set in simple song form featuring the alto saxophone. All that is good with the world and humanity is reflected in this movement through lyrical line and rich harmony. The final movement, Heavenly Light, is the most celebratory in that it radiates joy and elation. I imagine the light in this movement to be akin to what those with near-death experiences have seen and felt. The movement is cast in a sonata-rondo design with the first theme group featuring modal and chromatic mediant progressions. Motivic material from the second movement is used in the second theme group and makes a dramatic reprise in the coda.
- David R. Gillingham
Grade Level: 6
Number of Players: Standard + 2
Listen to Recordings
Solo Bb Clarinet
Bb Clarinets 1/2
Horn in F 1/2
Horn in F 3/4
Bb Trumpets 1/2
Percussion 1 (crotales, xylophone, marimba)
Percussion 2 (bells, 4.5-octave marimba, crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, temple blocks)
Percussion 3 (vibraphone, brake drum, tam-tam, suspended cymbal, concert snare drum)
Percussion 4 (chimes, hi-hat, 3 tom-toms, small bass drum, ride cymbal, triangle)