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Play an excerpt from Morfran.
Composer: David Heuser
Instrumentation: Bass Clarinet
Year Composed: 1987
Duration: 4 minutes
Pages : 2
Cost: Purchase: $3.00
Note: This work is in calligraphic rather than computer notation.
- Richard Hornsby, bass clarinet, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Cananda
- Julian Smerdon, bass clarinet, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN (March 1991)
- Michael Lowenstern, bass clarinet, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY (March 1988;
Morfran, for solo bass clarinet, was written in October of 1987 for bass
clarinetist Michael Lowenstern. Its companion piece is Sanddef, also for solo bass clarinet.
Morfran ("Great Crow"), son of the witch' Ceridwen and the nobleman Tegid Foel, is
mentioned as a member of King Arthur's
court in the medieval Welsh tale Calhwch and Olwen. He was so ugly, the teller relates,
he was not attacked at the battle of Camlan because "everyone supposed he was an attending
demon; he had hair on him like a stag.." He is more important in The Tale of Gwion
Bach (also a medieval Welsh tale) where he is no better off: "his looks, shape and
carriage were extraordinarily odious." His mother took pity (of sorts) on him and decided to
use her arts to give him great knowledge and the spirit of prophecy. Alas for poor Morfran - the
drops of wisdom fell on another, and Morfran was left ugly and dumb.