Tempestas for Clarinet (B-flat and Bass) and Keyboard Percussion (Vibraphone, Crotales, Glockenspiel, Marimba) is inspired by the beautiful mural Ocean Over Kansas by Brian Timmer (www.briantimmerart.com) located in the Lawrence Beer Company in Lawrence, Kansas. This painting shows a large, scary storm rolling in over a beautiful and expansive field in Kansas and gives a clear picture of the power of these massive storms.
As I started researching more about such storms I came across the word and descriptions of tempestas which would become the title for this work. Tempestas which is the Latin word meaning “season, weather, bad weather, storm” was also know in Roman times as the goddess of storms or sudden weather. This embodiment of an ancient description is so relative today with daily reminders that through climate change the Earth is experiencing more violent and destructive storms.
In this work you’ll hear this storm coming across the plains. It begins with the calm before the storm – hazy sunlight represented by the vibraphone and the crotales (played by the clarinetist). Eventually this beautiful, hazy day begins to grow darker as ominous clouds form in the distance. The instruments begin to grow wilder and more frantic as the wind picks up, sending dust and particles through the air. Finally, the storm arrives with wild, almost didgeridoo-like sounds in the clarinet, wild gestures racing up and down the marimba, and a sense that everything will fall apart. Eventually, hail begins to fall, represented by key clicks in the bass clarinet and piercing pitches from the glockenspiel as the hail falls from the sky. And just as the storm suddenly appeared, it begins to dissipate: the hail and rain stop, the clouds begin to clear, and we are left with the clear sky and air after a storm represented by the return of the vibraphone and crotales.
It was an honor to write this work for the 2022 Ears to the Earth concert in Lawrence, Kansas created by Luke Helker. It was a joy to have Stacia Fortune (clarinet/bass clarinet) and Ryan Pearson (keyboard percussion) premiere this work on Earth Day – April 22, 2022 at the Cider Gallery.