Fin de la Tierra: Land’s End Concerto for Clarinet in B-flat and Chamber Orchestra is performed by the Utah Valley University Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Cheung Chau, music director with clarinet soloist Jeffrey O’Flynn.
Friday, November 17, 2023
Noorda Center Concert Hall
At the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, in the state of Baja California Sur in Mexico is the famous “El Arco” (the Arch). The granite rock formations not only mark the most southwestern point of Baja, California, but also serve as a separation between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) known as “Fin de la Tierra” or Land’s End. A study in contrast, this area from El Arco and continuing around the eastern side of Baja into Cabo Pulmo National Park encompasses what Jacques Cousteau once called “the world’s aquarium”.
In this 18-minute concerto for Clarinet in B-flat and Chamber Orchestra, the diverse ecosystem of this area is explored. The clarinet soloist serves as a guide, taking us on a journey through this UNESCO World Heritage site to observe the beauty and diversity of the landscape, the water, the animals that live in and around it, and their symbiotic relationship that requires a delicate balance of conservation and exploration. The orchestra and the clarinet soloist provide that symbiotic relationship as the ensemble becomes the water, the rock sentries at Land’s End, and the many colors of the sea, underwater life, and wind and waves that make up the beauty of this seascape.
The clarinet gives us a view from above and below the water, sometimes with a bird’s eye view of the rock formations, then dipping below the surface of the Sea to follow the many colorful fish that make this area their home. Some that appear in this work include Sea Horses, a school of Goat Fish, Trumpetfish, and Long-Spined Porcupinefish. A special part of this concerto is a solo by the clarinet as it tells the story of the Munk’s Devil Ray, or Mobula Ray. Tens of thousands of these rays gather here in April-June, breaching the water like popcorn and making a spectacular show unique to this area. This solo will be expanded beyond the concerto version to become a stand-alone solo for Clarinet.
Beyond the exploration of this beautiful area through the colors of the clarinet and orchestra, this work hopes to bring attention to the importance of conservation of such places in the world that we all may continue to enjoy and protect these areas for generations to come.
Commissioned by Dr. Jeremy Reynolds for premiere during the 2023 ClarinetFest in Denver, Colorado.
This is a single-movement work with sections:
- Where the Pacific Ocean Meets the Sea of Cortez
- Rock Sentries
- The World’s Aquarium