I’m nobody! Who are you? (2016) by Franck Bedrossian
for bass flute, contrabass clarinet, and viola
World premiere; Earplay commission

The composition of a piece of music often starts with the preparation of its instrumentarium: this is a multifaceted trio, each facet being developed through writing. The texture of this trio, which unfolds in the medium and low registers, gives the whole a particular color. It operates at low pressure and nourishes itself from an apparent imbalance of power between instrumental parts; from that point of view, the premises of drama are present within the instrumentation.

I wanted to extract from this texture a range of harmonic colors, strong contrasts and oppositions — a set of permanent exchanges between bass and treble registers, causing tensions, echoes and divergences between instrumental identities.

To complete the visual analogy, I placed at the heart of the piece this Emily Dickinson poem — written with the bow on the strings.

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you — Nobody — too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise — you know!

How dreary — to be — Somebody!
How public — like a Frog —
To tell one’s name — the livelong June —
To an admiring Bog!

— F. B.    

[from program for February 5, 2018 concert]