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Melodies from my Mother

for B-flat Clarinet and prepared Guitar

Melodies from my Mother was inspired by stories from my mothers’ childhood. My mother grew up in the northern region of Romania. Her city was crouched in the shadow of the expansive Carpathian mountain range, where the hills were her backyard. Throughout my mother’s childhood, she was obliged to accompany my grandfather to the land they owned atop the mountain. There, she would spend a week at a time working alongside my grandfather. The first movement attempts to acoustically realize the perspective of my mother atop those mountains as she recalls the sound of the wind and birds, the footsteps against the earth, and the wooden tools in her hands. Among the sounds characteristic to the region was the sound of the “bucium”, an alpine horn, used as a method of communication as well as a musical instrument. “The Carpathian’s song” blends the sounds of the environment with the music that they might have hummed while working. Inspired by the sounds around her, she begins humming, this develops into a melody which is carried through the first movement, mingling with the elements. Two source pieces were used for this work, one in each movement. The first movement incorporated the essence of a well-known and old folk song “Ciuleandra”. This melody is heard developing from the humming. The second movement is inspired by the “Tropotita”. This is a dance characteristic of the region my mother grew up in. While the source piece is never heard in its entirety, all of the musical content developed from it. Tropotita means to stomp and the dance which accompanies this music is central to the theme of stomping. The second movement mimics the percussive nature of this dance.

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