SOLO INSTRUMENT - Theme and Absurdities (1993) - clarinet

Duration - 4:00

clarinet solo

Bermel’s “Theme and Absurdities” is a short, dizzying clarinet solo that spins off into fanciful pyrotechnics, weaving in bits of cartoon grotesquerie, angular modernist gestures, Benny Goodman swoops, baroque filigree, drunken glissandos, klezmer riffs, operatic high notes and theatrical dialogues between the high register and the low. The whole thing ends with a note of humor and hope, trailing off with the sunrise opening of Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra.
— New York Newsday
Most conspicuous was composer-clarinetist Derek Bermel. He played his Theme and Absurdities, flaunting its stubborn atonality and braying glisses that led finally to a tonal arpeggio broken off by an appoggiatura out of the introduction to ‘Zarathustra.’. . Bermel, & with pianist Claudio Martinez-Mehner, emphasized both the lyricism and liveliness in his own ‘SchiZm’.”
— The Village Voice