for bass clarinet and electronic sound
Composer: Jennifer Merkowitz
In the summer of 2008, I lived in Williamsburg, Virginia in a development called La Fontaine. On the surface, it looked like a quiet, quaint community with a fountain in the middle of a pond. But that summer was not quiet. When the sun went down, the sounds of the creatures outside were astonishingly clamorous, making themselves known even inside the sealed air-conditioned apartments. One evening, I went out to investigate. I found that the frogs and toads were having quite the party! (Later, armed with a guide from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, I identified them as Fowler’s Toad, Green Treefrog, and Cope’s Gray Treefrog.) As I wandered along the grass, I heard snippets of melodies and polyrhythms that could serve as the accompaniment to a human dance party. The bass clarinet is your tour guide through this party, at first blending in with the amphibians, and later singing and dancing above their rhythms.
Les Crapauds de la Fontaine was commissioned by the Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival in Fall 2015. Many thanks go to Benjamin Broening, Andrea Cheeseman, and Andrew Kovaleski for their assistance in bringing the piece to life.