Christopher Mothersole Performs Jenni Brandon’s Chansons de la Nature and Cacophony, for Clarinet & Delay Pedal

Christopher Mothersole performs Jenni Brandon’s Chansons de la Nature and Cacophony, for clarinet & delay pedal on August 4, 2022, at 5:06 PM at the Studio Theater, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway, Columbus, Georgia 31901. This performance is free and open to the public. For those outside the Columbus area, this concert will be live streamed via the Columbus State University, Schwob School of Music Livestream available at the Schwob School of Music at YouTube channel: 8-26-22 Christopher Mothersole Guest Artist – YouTube.

The program is:

  • Cloudburst, for Clarinet & Distortion (C. Mothersole)
  • Circleplay II, for Clarinet & Delay (S. Okpebholo)
  • Chansons de la Nature, for Clarinet & Delay (J. Brandon)
  • DEMO, for EFX Clarinet (C. Mothersole) *Premiere*
  • La Noche Oscura, for Clarinet & Delay (T. Broström)
  • Cacophony, for Clarinet & Delay (J. Brandon)
  • Toccata & Fugue in D minor, for EFX Clarinet (J.S. Bach/C. Mothersole)

A native of Austin, Texas, Christopher Mothersole is Instructor of Clarinet & Chamber Music at the University of West Georgia. Christopher’s most recent work places him at the forefront of clarinet performance with guitar effect pedals. He has presented on this topic for the International Clarinet Association on multiple occasions, demonstrating the enhanced sound capabilities of using live effects and working together with composers to create new music for what has been nicknamed “EFX Clarinet”. His duo CLX, together with Timothy Fitzgerald (Professor of Clarinet, University of North Georgia), presented & performed at ClarinetFest 2021.

Chansons de la Nature pour la Clarinette (version for solo B-Flat Clarinet and Delay) takes Jenni’s original work for Solo B-Flat clarinet and adds digital delay to the movements to create a unique and colorful version of this work.

Performance note

Performer should use an active PA speaker and a digital delay effects pedal capable of a .55-second delay. The performer may also use a similar digital/analog delay pedal or live audio processing software (ex. Ableton Live) to achieve this effect.

As an input device, a piezoelectric pickup or an external microphone may be used to capture the clarinet’s sound for use of the effect.

Chansons tells a story about nature 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 Lièvre 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’étoile” 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.

Cacophony for B-flat Clarinet and Delay pedal

The inspiration for Cacophony comes from a large, canopied tree on my street. At dawn and dusk, the birds gather here and create an amazing cacophony of birdsong. In this work I wanted to recreate the sounds and textures of this effect by using both the lyrical and rhythmic abilities of the clarinet, but also the color opportunities that the delay pedal offers. You will hear a variety of birdsong, from a single bird singing just before dawn, to the back-and-forth calls of birds using the reverse delay. The digital delay creates a sense of duet and birds trying to out-sing each other.  Eventually all the birds arrive in the tree to sing, using the digital delay to create a hazy wall of sound as timbral trills break through the cacophony as individual songs of birds.

I am very grateful to Chris for introducing me to the wonders of the delay pedal, and for commissioning and premiering Cacophony.

In one movement with sections, including the type of delay (reverb remains on throughout the piece):

A single bird singing just before dawn (no delay)

Sparse, open; like two birds calling to each other across a distance (Reverse Delay)

Bird Duet: Competitive birds singing before dawn; like birds flying off in opposite directions, single bird sings again (Digital Delay)

Hazy, like morning mist, a brightening in the sky (Digital Delay)

Dawn arrives with a cacophony of song (Digital Delay)

Contemplative (Reverse Delay, Digital Delay)

All of Jenni’s compositions are available for purchase on her website Home – Jenni Brandon