Urban Predators (2013) for two bass clarinets

INSTRUMENTATION: Alternate version for baritone saxophone and bass clarinet available

DURATION: ca. 11:00

COMMISSIONED BY: Music Teachers National Association and Missouri Music Teachers Association for the 2013 Commissioned Composer Program

Musical allusions to felinity using the smokey, sinewy timbre of the clarinet are numerous, the most famous undoubtedly being Prokofiev’s fable “Peter and the Wolf.” It was for this reason that, given an opportunity to write for a duo of bass clarinets, my mind conjured up a bizarre image of anthropomorphic, human-sized cats and their (mostly hostile) interactions. The piece is largely structured around a transcription of an actual cat fight, appropriately re-pitched, and its musical consequences. The performers rarely ever come to an accord in style or character without trying to best each other in some way. While composing the work, many other freely-associated influences crept in: Dolphy-esque avant-jazz, cartoon sound effects, thrash-funk rock, sentimental ballads, schlocky zombie horror scores, and loudly-belted blues. The title itself is appropriated from a relatively famous song describing the erotic life of an alley cat.