Instrumentation fl (dblng. picc), ob, cl, bsn, hn, tpt, tbn, d.bs
(same instrumentation as Octandre by Edgard Varese)
To clench is to close or grasp tightly, to contract the muscles in a gripping fashion. Clenching is not a particularly healthy or productive action, nor one in that is especially efficient in terms of expenditure of energy yielding useful results. To clench is to increase tension internally, usually with little or no consequence externally.
The nature of clenching is that it is unrequited. The activity inevitably ends in resignation – never resolution.
Much energy was expended in the composition of Clencher, and the musicians will almost certainly expend much energy in its performance. Were all this energy re-directed into a single clenching act, it would amount to an extremely uncomfortable state of existence, and as such is not recommended.
The piece itself could perhaps be seen to be in three main sections, or “clenches”. Each clench increases to a point of highest tension (“clenchiness”?) and then falls back; with each subsequent clench rising higher in tension than the clench that preceded it.
For those who feel that it is in fact the composer’s duty to provide a lucid programme note explaining the whys and wherefores of a composition, and who also feel that the present programme note falls short of this, I offer by way of an apology an interesting if completely unrelated quote I found whilst carrying out an internet search on the word “clencher” :-
“I started walking with the Clencher and my posture improved and so did my health. Remember - the Clencher is better than a splint in many ways." - Gerald Magnuson, D.D.S. - Inventor of the Clencher