Instrumentation: flute, clarinet
Meri and kari are principles of traditional shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) music. Referring collectively to the technique, pitch inflection, and timbre of a note, meri refers to lowering the pitch and keri refers to raising the pitch. Associated with Zen Buddhist meditation practices, the sound of the shakuhachi is characterized by a warm tone color, subtle bending pitches, note swells, and variations in tone quality. An homage to this distinctive sound world, meri-kari for flute and clarinet closely blends the sonorities and timbres of the two instruments. I had a special interest in techniques that draw attention to the musicians’ breath and the flow of air through the instruments, for example, slow glissandi, flutters, singing while playing, and hollow/whistle tones on the flute.
3/30/07: NOW Ensemble, Garrett Hall, Charlottesville, VA (premiere)