dead wasps in the jam-jar III - Clara Iannotta International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

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Commissioned by Festival d’Automne in Paris with the support of Ernst von Siemens Foundation and ProQuartet Association; dedicated to Joséphine Markovits.
As in so many works by Clara Iannotta, the title of this piece is a striking image taken from the poetry of Dorothy Molloy. The composition began as a short piece for the violinist Yuki Numata Resnick. It was one of four new works commissioned to nestle amongst the movements of J. S. Bach’s Partita no. 1 for solo violin. In this case Iannotta drew inspiration from the Double to Bach’s Corrente, draping a range of glissandi and other noise effects over a skeleton of the original. The idea has since expanded into a series of three separate works: the inaugural piece, as well as dead wasps in the jam-jar (ii) for string orchestra and electronics, and (iii) for string quartet and electronics. 

While working on these pieces, Iannotta explains, she “pictured a kind of deep-sea environment, the lowest layer of the ocean, where constant pressure and perpetual movement seem to shape the stillness of time.” dead wasps in the jam-jar (iii) certainly moves through its gestures with the slow, intense consideration of a creature swimming in complete darkness. The original violin solo is stretched to oceanic dimensions, revealing, in its spaces, endless new forms that could not have been seen before. Like the other two pieces in this short series, it is an investigation of surface and what lies beneath it; here the depths are revealed to be more profound than could have been imagined. 

© Tim Rutherford-Johnson