Chris Dench – ruins within (1992-94) for clarinet in A
Carl Rosman, clarinet
Janet Sinica, video
Hendrik Manook, sound design
For the blog, Carl Rosman recalls how this piece has accompanied him for quite some time now:
Chris Dench’s ruins within was the first solo piece written for me by a composer of international reputation — a reputation that he had established well before his arrival in Australia at the beginning of the 1990s. I played it on various occasions in mid-1990s ELISION Ensemble programmes, from its premiere in 1994 to various outings on international tours (my CD recording, on a Chris Dench portrait disc on the NMC label, is from a radio production in the exquisite acoustic of the Radio Bremen Sendesaal); I even wrote a little analytical article, with accompanying interview, which you can read in the January 2001 issue of Musik & Ästhetik (although not in the language in which I wrote it). A press review from a 1996 Brisbane performance described it as ‘a musical representation of psychosis’… clearly 1996 Brisbane was not quite ready for the more dramatic moments of this mostly lyrical, overtly melodic piece.
The form is somewhat labyrinthine, with various subpieces constantly interrupting one another; the ‘ruins’ are a sequence of subtones which run through the piece, occasionally appearing at the surface (and for one section, marked ‘stage whisper’, having the limelight briefly to themselves). The ‘ruins’ moments often make use of a repertoire of ghostly multiphonics, sounding surprisingly pure and consonant in comparison with the woodwind multiphonic stereotype: this category of sounds, considerably expanded since then, has been an essential part of my collaborative work ever since.
– Carl Rosman, July 2020