Jenni Brandon’s work, the “Pleistocene Epoch: The Great Ice Age” for solo Bass Clarinet, was featured on the Second Inversion program, KING FM 98.1, Seattle, Washington.
“I’m not usually a fan of music for solo single-line instruments, but something about this solo bass clarinet piece hits me just right this week” stated Seth Tompkins, the Program Director of Classical KING FM. “The more I listened to this, the more I wanted to turn the speakers up to enjoy the rich bass and nuanced performance of Jennifer Stevenson. My enjoyment of this work might also have something to do with the fact that I’m an admitted biology nerd; three of the movements of this piece bear the names of ice age fauna. These titles alone are sufficient to spur imaginative listening (for me, at least)” said Seth Tompkins.
Founded in 1948 by Dorothy Stimson Bullitt, Classical KING FM 98.1 is among the longest-running classical radio stations in the United States. Today, it is consistently ranked as one of the top 5 American classical radio stations.
Jenni’s “Pleistocene Epoch: The Great Ice Age” for solo Bass Clarinet 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.
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.