Sea Songs: Mobula Ray for Solo Clarinet in B-flat

$16.00

In this solo for B-flat Clarinet, the unique species of fish found in the Sea of Cortez is the Mobula Munkiana, or Munk’s Pygmy Devil Ray. This work explores them as they swim and leap from the water, showcasing the clarinet’s ability to be as acrobatic as the Mobula Rays.

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Description

Sea Songs: Mobula Ray for Solo Clarinet in B-flat (JB 194)
Duration approximately 9:30

 

 

A unique species of fish in the Sea of Cortez is the Mobula Munkiana, or Munk’s Pygmy Devil Ray. Locally known in Baja California Sur as Mobula Ray, schools in the tens of thousands gather around the Baja California Sur peninsula in Mexico twice a year to feed on plankton. They appear April-July and November-January when currents change and bring plankton and nutrients up from deeper waters. Among the most acrobatic of the Rays, these unique fish can jump up to 9 feet (3 meters) out of the water, sounding like popcorn popping as they splash back into the water.

In this solo for B-flat Clarinet, a single Mobula Ray first appears as “a shadow of something swimming in the Deep Blue”. The clarinet uses its ability to dynamically appear from nothing, emulating a shadow of movement in a sea of blue.  As the Mobula Ray begins to come closer and “appears out of the depths”, we begin to see it take shape and take a few leaps out of the water with the technique of the timbral trill representing hanging in the air before falling back into the water. The Ray continues to swim around, and eventually the lone Ray is joined by other Rays “like popcorn – leaping in and out of the water”.  This section is playful and agile, showcasing the clarinet’s ability to be as acrobatic as the Mobula Rays.

After leaping for a while, the Rays swim down into the depths, where these schools of Mobula Rays swirl and swim to gather and eat plankton. There is a moment where the clarinet briskly creates a “blur of shapes and sounds, like thousands of rays appearing all at once”.  As the Rays continue to swim to the next area to feed, you’ll hear the clarinet explore leaping out of the water once more before slowly disappearing back into the depths.

The International Union for Conservation has listed the Mobula Ray as “Vulnerable” as of 2018 due to fishing, boat traffic, and pollution. More conservation work continues to be done to protect this incredible species.

This solo is an expansion of the clarinet cadenza from Fin de la Tierra: Land’s End, a concerto for Clarinet with Chamber Orchestra that was premiered by Jeremy Reynolds during the 2023 ClarinetFest in Denver, Colorado. I’m thrilled and honored to share the story of the Mobula Ray and thank Jeremy Reynolds and the commissioning consortium for supporting the creation of this solo work.

 

 

 


Sea Songs: Mobula Ray for Solo Clarinet in B-flat was commissioned by lead commissioner Jeremy Reynolds. The Commissioning Consortium Members helped to support the creation of this solo work that expands on the Clarinet Cadenza from both the orchestral and piano versions of Fin de la Tierra: Land’s End Concerto for Clarinet with Chamber Orchestra.

I am grateful to Jeremy and the members of the Commissioning Consortium who helped make this piece possible.

Lead Commissioner

Jeremy Reynolds with additional support from the University of Denver

Commissioning Consortium Members

·        Kwami R. Barnett

·        Pamela Diaz

·        Fontana Chamber Arts

·        Jackie Glazier

·        Josh Goo

·        Laura Grantier

·        Julianne Kirk Doyle

·        James Logan with support from the University of Texas at El Paso

·        Joanna McCoskey Wiltshire

·        Jeffrey O’Flynn

·        Carrie RavenStem

·        Aileen Razey

·        Roddy Terrell

Additional information

Delivery of Score

Mail Score, PDF delivery