For Solo Clarinet
(2008) 4 minutes
Arranged for solo flute as Medea
Commissioned by the Presteigne Festival in 2008 and premiered by Catriona Scott during the festival.
Shortly before writing this piece I reached the final of a competition to compose the music for the Cambridge Greek Play, which happened to be Medea that year. Although I didn’t end up winning, Euripides’ play stunned me with its depiction of Medea, a woman who kills her two children to spite her husband Jason (who has just left her for a Corinthian princess). This piece was inspired by the wildly contrasting emotions that Medea experiences during a monologue immediately preceding the double-murder: that she can’t possibly go through with it, but that she must in order to punish her enemies. In one passage she says “I understand that what I am about to do is wrong, but my thumos (emotion) has vanquished my bouleumata (ability to deliberate).
© Cheryl Frances-Hoad, 2008
'Bouleumata for solo clarinet is just over three minutes long, and within that short space of time, demonstrates the virtuoso range of the instrument. There is a sense of natural flow and drama, and moments brought to mind the clarinet writing in Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, in their sense of scope and expression. This is a piece which deserves to become a staple part of the solo clarinet repertoire.'
Carla Rees, MusicWeb International
Performance history (post-premiere)
23rd April 2019 - Sara Minelli at the Accademia dei Notturni, Bologna (Medea)