Local composer's piece brought back to the stage in MainStage concert

How Allan Gilliland composed "Suite from the Suite," which will be performed by master clarinetist, James Campbell, and others at the "Chamber Music Masterworks with Clarinet" concert at Convocation Hall.

Erik Einsiedel - 31 January 2019

Contemporary Canadian composer Allan Gilliland's piece, Suite from the Sound, will be performed at the upcoming Chamber Music Masterworks with Clarinet concert on February 1 at Convocation Hall.

Special guest and master clarinetist, James Campbell, will join the U of A's Patricia Tao (piano), Rafael Hoekman (cello) and Robert Uchida (violin) to perform Allan Gilliland's Suite from the Sound.

Arts News caught up with Gilliland to learn more about the process behind creating this beautiful and moving composition.

ARTS NEWS (AN): What prompted you to compose this piece?

ALLAN GILLILAND (AG): This work was originally commissioned by The Festival of the Sound (which influenced the name). It was premiered by their artistic director, James Campbell, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet on July 29, 2005, at the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts in Parry Sound, Ontario.

AN: What was the inspiration for this particular work?

AG: Suite from the Sound was actually the second collaboration between Jim Campbell and myself. The first was a jazz concerto for clarinet and orchestra called Dreaming of the Masters, and Jim really wanted to continue with the idea of jazz-inspired works for classical ensembles. This piece is written for a chamber ensemble consisting of clarinet and string quartet.

AN: What can audiences expect when they hear Suite from the Sound?

AG: The work is in three movements. Movement I is subtitled Parry's Ground and uses a ground bass (a repeated bass line that plays throughout). The focus is counterpoint as each voice enters one-by-one, creating a complex polyphonic texture. When the last line enters it reveals that the movement is blues-based. There is also a section in this movement, as with all the movements, where the ensemble gets a chance to improvise.

Movement II is subtitled Waltz for Mr. Evans, and the inspiration was the great arranger, and Miles Davis collaborator, Gil Evans. Here I wanted to create a rich harmonic texture reminiscent of his writing.

Movement III is subtitled Flying Fingers. This movement plays around with different groupings of 8 -- 8th notes in 4/4 time to create a rhythmic, infectious groove.

Don't miss the live performance of Gilliland's Suite from the Soundthis Friday, February 1, 7:30 PM at Convocation Hall. Get your tickets today!