Philip CZAPŁOWSKI bio / orchestral chamber music solo / gallery media contact
2003/revised 2017 | solo clarinet | 5 minutes
Totenlied for solo clarinet was composed during April and May 2003 as part of the composer's contribution to the collaborative piece Conversations (see below). In November 2017 a revised version of the score was prepared for Italian clarinettist Sauro Berti, who will give the world premiere performance, playing a clarnet in A, on the 18th December 2017 in Porto, Portugal.
2017 | solo horn|
grunwald is in progress
among the silver birches
2017 | solo flute | 9 minutes
among the silver birches was completed in August 2017.
The piece is a reflection on the Katyn massacre, a series of mass executions of Polish nationals carried out by the NKVD, the "People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs", a Soviet (Russian) secret police organisation, in April and May 1940.
About 22,000 Poles-army officers, police officers and intelligentsia-were systematically murdered by order of the Russian government, in order to ease the opportunist takeover of Poland by Russia, which the Soviet alliance with Hitler made possible. Though the killings took place at several different locations, the massacre is named after the Katyn Forest, where some of the mass graves were first discovered.
In an extraordinary and tragic coincidence, on 10 April 2010, a Polish Air Force plane carrying 96 people to attend an event marking the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, crashed near Smolensk, Russia. All those on board perished, including the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński, his wife Maria, and various Polish politicians, dignitaries, and relatives of some of those who died in the Katyn massacre. The crash was found to have been caused by pilot error, as the plane attempted to land in thick fog.
2017 | solo clarinet | 7 minutes
invention was commenced in 2009, but put aside. The work was finally completed in September 2017.
2017 | solo bass clarinet | 6 minutes
living desert was composed for Finnish clarinettist Maija Anttila, and completed in June 2017.
The Living Desert is a magical and beguiling area in outback Australia, near Broken Hill, New South Wales. To watch the sun go down there is a humbling and uplifting experience. The Australian landscape can be quite deceptive, often appearing still and unchanging. But in fact it teems with life and activity. There is peace, but also there is drama and violence. And the colours. The colours and the light are like nowhere else in the world.
2010 | solo flute | 5 minutes
buwarri for solo flute was composed in April 2010. The premiere performances were given by Polish flautist Iwona Glinka on 19 & 20 May 2012 in Athens, Greece.
Buwarri is the word for dream in the Yindjibarndi language, spoken in north-western Western Australia. The music represents a dream about the Australian desert-the outback-a landscape that possesses immense natural beauty and mystique. At the same time the outback can also be a lonely, desolate place.
2010 | solo violin| 11 minutes
tragedia for solo violin was composed in 2010, in memory of the composer's brother Laurence, who died in 2007 at the age of 54.
elegia for solo alto flute was composed for British flautist Carla Rees, who gave the first performance on 29th January 2007 at the University of Birmingham, England.
The Sonata for solo flute was composed for Polish flautist Iwona Glinka, who gave the first performance.
The first movement, "Prelude", is based on the subject of the Fugue in C major, Book II of J.S. Bach's Wohltemperierte Klavier. The sonata's second movement, "Pulcinella", takes as its starting point the first six notes of the fugal subject of Domenico Scarlatti's keyboard sonata known as The Cat's Fugue, transposed up an octave to accommodate the flute's range. The third movement, "Mazurka", is based upon the opening three bars of a Muzurka in B minor by Michael Glinka (Iwona's namesake!), originally written for violin and piano. The fourth movement re-works music from an earlier composition by Philip Czaplowski, Elegies for solo clarinet (1998).
Lavender Mist for solo flute was completed during April 2006, and is a musical response to the painting of the same name by American artist Jackson Pollock, Lavender Mist (1950).
The premiere took place at the Corona Contemporary Music Festival in Tuscanny, Italy in July 2006, performed by Lisa Cella.
You Yangs Landscape
You Yangs Landscape was written in 2004, and takes its name from a painting by Fred Williams, the composer's favourite Australian artist. You Yangs 1 (1963) is from a series painted by Williams in the 1960s that depicts the You Yangs, small granite outcrops that dominate the surrounding plains to the west of Melbourne. These semi-abstract canvasses capture the magical essence of the Australian landscape, its colours and its vibrancy. This particular painting actually shows the view from the top of the You Yangs, an impressive aerial vista of the harsh, dry surrounds, which nevertheless harbour a world of activity.
You Yangs Landscape was composed for Graeme Evans, principal horn of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, who premiered the work at BMW Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne on 22nd August 2004, during a concert by the Australia Pro Arte Soloists. Mr. Evans also made many valuable suggestions during the work's composition.
You Yangs Landscape was featured in a segment on the ABC Sunday Arts program about painters and the You Yangs, which was broadcast in 2007.
The Blackbird's Song of Peace
The Blackbird's Song of Peace for solo flute was composed in 2003, and is dedicated to the late Geoffrey Tozer (pictured), who was one of the finest pianists Australia has produced. He inspired the work's composition by supplying the composer with the opening 3 bars, an actual blackbird call that Tozer heard in Tasmania, in 1964. The music is based on a seven note scale extracted from the Blackbird's call, and the title also reflects the fact that composition of the work began on 20th March 2003, the first day of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The Blackbird's Song of Piece is available on CD at Move Records, performed by Italian flautist Luciano Tristaino of Trio Altrove 1.3
Interpolation for solo oboe was completed in September 2002, and composed for Jeffrey Crellin, principal oboist of the Melbourne Symphony, who gave the first performance at a concert in Elder Hall at the University of Adelaide on 18th October 2002.
The title of the work refers to the inclusion, or "interpolation", of an anonymous theme from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book of English keyboard works, "Alman." (a shortened form of Allemande), which appears in its original form in bars 14 to 21, and is subsequently varied and manipulated in a number of ways.
Elegies for solo clarinet was written in 1998 for Phillip Miechel, former principal clarinettist of the Melbourne Symphony, who premiered the work during a concert by the Australian Chamber Soloists, at the University of Melbourne on 13 September 1998.
The work consists of five movements: three elegies separated by two interludes.
Monologue for solo oboe was written for Jeffrey Crellin, principal oboist of the Melbourne Symphony, who gave the first performance on 16th September 1997 at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. Subsequent performances include those by Linda Walsh at the 1998 International Double Reed Society Conference in Arizona, US; a recording for ABC FM radio by Rainer Gibbons, and Kazimierz Dawidek in Belfast, 2003.
In June 2000 the composer undertook a substantial revision of the work, and this revised version was premiered by Jeffrey Crellin on July 25th 2000, during an Australia Pro Arte concert at Melba Hall.
Every Now and Then...
Every Now and Then... for solo bass clarinet was composed in 1983 for the renowned Dutch Bass Clarinetist Harry Sparnaay.
Harry was in residence at the Victorian College of the Arts that year, and along with a number of other composers I attended a workshop he gave. I was one of the last to arrive, and before taking my seat I gave him my score. To commence his workshop, without saying a word, Harry proceeded to perform my piece perfectly from sight! He subsequently made the current recording at the VCA studios on the 5th of April.