Elaine Agnew


Type of Work: Solo
Instrumentation: Bass clarinet (with pre-recorded voice track)
Length: 5 minutes
Commissioned by: 2002 Galway Arts Festival
Premiere: 10 March 2012, CMC, Dublin. Paul Roe


In 2002 the Galway Arts Festival ‘Soundshapes’ project paired a sound composer with an object composer in an equal partnership to create a Soundshape.  Working with Antrim sculpture Graham Gingles, we created a large-scale music box, based on one Graham inherited from an aunt.  The theme of memory emerged, conjuring up many possibilities.  In Graham’s music box an electrical devise triggers a hidden CD to play.  Using speech, bass clarinet and original music box sounds, I wove together a 5 minute soundtrack.  Once you open the lid, the music draws you in to explore Graham’s memories, to see and to listen.

I recorded a vocal collage of family, friends and students prompting them to recall early memories, describe an early photograph, highlighting the colour of  different accents, pitches and timbres.  A notated bass clarinet line was added first and then when mixed with the text and the music box sounds, a second improvised layer was added.

As soon as the lid is opened, 5-year old Michael grabs your attention with  Twinkle Twinkle.  Bass clarinet enters quietly with a long held note before Ciara describes a music box she was given as a present...


Performed by:
 Paul Roe, studio production Brian Keegan