for two clarinets and electroacoustic sound
Composer: Christopher Hopkins
Touché is a single movement duo-concertante in a toccata style. Two clarinet soloists are united in a musical contest, between themselves and together in opposition to an ensemble of synthetic clarinets automated from computer software. The toccata paradigm emphasizes the immediacy of touch upon the instruments, which traditionally serves to allow idioms of virtuosic performance to take the lead in determining musical form. Touché also takes the idea of musical touch to a yet more detailed level, that of articulation, the specific qualities of attack upon and the subsequent shaping of the musical tones. Here, therefore, the emphasis is on how the tones themselves are touched. The synthetic clarinets in particular emphasize these articulations, being made artificially sharp and separated, or more rarely, artificially dulled. There are also important shaping gestures, such as sudden swellings of tone with pointed conclusions, that suggest the rhythmic interchange of swordplay, notably fencing—en-garde.
The choice of software to perform the audio cues is up to the performer. Playback of the audio files must allow overlap, where one audio file can begin as the previous finishes. No more than two layers are required. There is a simple Max patch supplied for performance and rehearsal. An additional patch is supplied for an individual alone to practice in stereo with selection of a MIDI controller input to advance cues. These patches have been tested for Max 5 or later.