Oil & Water

Oil & Water for clarinet and vibraphone
Publisher: Gottry Publications (2018)
Composed: 2017
Duration: 3’45”
Difficulty: Medium
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 from Gottry Publications or buy as a digital download via Sellfy

Oil & Water was written as part of the Duo Rodina Songbook project to create accessible works for percussion and clarinet duo. The title of the piece derives from the contrasting instrument materials (wood vs. metal) and the writing that is consistently independent in nature. However, as the piece demonstrates, these two materials that do not mix may still work together in beautiful harmony, despite their independent characteristics. The duet opens with rubato arpeggiations from the vibraphone supporting slurred ascending long tones in the clarinet, spanning much of each instrument’s range. The eighth note remains constant as the piece shifts into compound meter and the vibraphone begins the first of two ostinati presented in the duet. The clarinet enters with its melody, presented over two phrases, after which it then assumes the supportive ostinato role. The vibraphone takes its turn overlaying two phrases of a melody, interrupted in the middle and end by a brief passage partnering the two voices. After a brief reprise of the opening vibraphone ostinato and a solo fleeting thought from the clarinet, the pieces closes as it began. Oil & Water was premiered in the summer of 2017 by Duo Rodina (Lisa Kachouee and Jamie Wind Whitmarsh).


Whether the desire of Duo Rodina was to commission works for percussion and clarinet that are accessible to the performers or the listeners, Gottry succeeds on both fronts. This piece would be a great addition to any performance or recital as an introduction to playing chamber music with a non-percussionist. – Justin Bunting
Printed by permission of the Percussive Arts Society, inc.