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Libby Larsen
Corker for Clarinet and Percussion

Libby Larsen

  • Born: December 24, 1950, Wilmington, Delaware


Corker for Clarinet and Percussion

  • Composed: 1989
  • Premiere: November 1989
  • Duration: approx. 6 minutes

American composer Libby Larsen is known for music that reflects both the language and the spirit of contemporary America. Corker reflects Larsen’s love of jazz, especially the swing style of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. She writes:

“My inspiration for the work is drawn from 1940s popular musical language, which I love, because the performers are spectacular musicians and because it speaks the rhythms and harmonic language of contemporary American English.”

Corker was part of a trio of pieces composed for solo wind instruments and percussion. The first, Bronze Veil (1979) is for trombone and two percussionists. The second, Xibalba (1989) is for bassoon and two percussionists. Corker was commissioned by clarinetist Robert Spring and premiered in November of 1989.

On Larsen’s website, Corker is listed under the theme of “energy.” It begins with fast rhythmic cymbals and articulated, syncopated playing by the clarinet. This is contrasted by more relaxed sections featuring the vibraphone, before returning to the initial theme to end the piece. It’s an exciting piece to play and, I believe, captures the spirit of the early Swing Era.

—Ronald Aufmann