Bateman: Spirituel á Jean-Marc

Stock Code: WD071

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Spirituel à Jean-Marc

The title is a tribute to a hospitable Frenchman who lives in Lille and inspiration for the work derived from the joyful singing of a West Indian choir on the BBC’s Songs of Praise.*

Spirituel à Jean-Marc starts with a gentle introduction, after which the soloist is encouraged to perform in an expressive manner with the judicious use of rubato; but in this context I prefer the term jazz feel. In the form of a popular song, the second 8 is a variation, the B theme (middle 8) increases in intensity, and in the last 8 bars the simple version of the A theme returns.

The Gospel Shout section is driven by the 2 bar bossa nova rhythm which, although normally associated with slower tempos, drives this lively variation with alacrity! I am reminded of Carlos Jobim’s One Note Samba which is not a samba at all but a fast bossa nova. As you will appreciate, the accompanying instruments act as a percussion section whilst providing appropriate harmonic support. At the same time the solo clarinet is urged to improvise on the accessible chord progression BUT if, after some preparation and experimentation, he/she cannot improve on the original, then play what’s written!!

Bar 70 (start of the “middle 8”) provides the 2nd and 3rd players with a spirited duet whilst the 4th Clarinet fills in the gaps with gusto; this also enables the soloist to take a well earned rest after some demanding melodic and subsequent improvisatory efforts. In bar 83 the rallentando must be handled with artistry in order to avoid the sudden sound of braking – so please observe the metronome markings. Finally the slow 3/4 concludes with some ornamental work for the soloist and a trill on the last bar.

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