Epicycles of the Planets for clarinet quartet
Epicycles are ancient mathematical constructs that used numbers to explain geometry, musical harmonies and planetary motions. This quartet depicts the planets in a series of short musical vignettes based on varying cycles and musical styles. Mysterious Saturn is modern, tonal and pleasantly dissonant. Majestic Jupiter and its stately moons have a Renaissance feeling. Enigmatic Mars, based on serial 12-tone rows, is atonal but surprisingly consonant. Shining together in the twilight, brilliant Mercury and beautiful Venus are portrayed by a Romantic motif from Zdenek Fibich “Twilight Idyll” Op 39. The quartet parts are not technically difficult. With exception of a two brief excursions for first clarinet up to high F, there are no notes above “high C”.
Performed by Carolina Clarinet Quartet