Quadrivium — from Latin, meaning “a crossroads. A place where four roads meet”
This composition is a modern choral of sorts, with four clarinet parts playing what might be more traditional sung in four part harmony, or played on an organ. My inspiration came from the fabulous ECM recordings of saxophonist Jan Garbarek improvising over the top of the incredible four-part vocal group called the Hilliard Ensemble. But, unlike their work, which sticks to very authentic early-music compositions, I chose to write a new piece with some modern twists thrown in.
Clay gets to play the part of Jan, using the melodica’s bright sound to cut through the darker sonority of the clarinets and bass clarinets below him. Most of his part is improvised, with a short melodic hook that happens once in the middle and once at the end.