Riflesso sull'arco
parts without score
for bass clarinet, trombone, cello & piano (2016)

20 minutes – no.42

'Riflesso' is the Italian word for sheen. In German one would say 'Abglanz', in French 'reflet', and in Dutch 'weerschijn'. 'Riflesso' is cognate with the more familiar word 'riflessione' (reflection), yet its meaning has additional subtlety: reflective light of a tone different from that of its source.

Riflesso sull’arco ('sheen on the arch/bow') is part of the Riflessi series, which consists exclusively of companion pieces: each Riflesso explores the same exceptional scoring of an existing 'classic' by a composer from the past. Riflesso sull’arco is a companion piece for Swinging Music (1970) by the Polish composer Kazimierz Serocki. It is scored for bass clarinet, trombone, cello and piano.

In Riflesso sull’arco we hear four arches of sound, one after the other. The arches slowly grow to their highest point, using nothing more than harmonic overtones, and then gradually come down again. The first pedal point is on B-flat, the second on A-natural, the third on C-natural, and the last one on B-natural. In German these pitches read: B-A-C-H. At points where harmonic partials occur – i.e. 1/12 of the total length, 1/11, 1/10, up to the very midpoint of 1/2, and then continuing until 11/12 – a sudden ‘knot’ of sound erupts.

All sounds we hear are acting, i.e. not talking; they have no meaning or message; they simply exist in time and space, and last.