William Sweeney: Nine Days (3-12 May 1926) – Piobaireachd for Clarinet
Piece for 3 clarinets (or clarinet and pre-recorded drone) composed in 1976.
Bound printed photocopy of handwritten score (16pp).
This piece uses the form of the?piobaireachd – the Great Music of the Highland Bagpipes. It is simply a melody repeated with variations of a decorative nature, although in this?piobaireachd changes in tone colour and melodic outline are also made. The figuration is not derived from the bagpipe but from the clarinet – using ‘fake’ fingerings for fast groups of grace notes and some devices usually associated with the ‘avant-garde’ (harmonic ‘chords’ etc.
The title is a reference to the nine days of the General Strike – the composition of the piece coincided with the 50th anniversary of that event.?Piobaireachd is epic in style and this seemed to me relevant to the heroism and creativity displayed by the strikers. The work is dedicated to Alan Hacker.
The best solution for the ‘drone’ (concert f) is to use three ‘live’ clarinettists, breathing as necessary. Otherwise a tape-loop may be made.