I think that most saxophonist, at some point in their life at least, dreamt about playing the clarinet. Dreamt about playing glimmering lines up in the high register ornamented with seductive glissandos and dive into the melancholic low register to play velvety notes with an air of a fading rose. Full of passion and optimism and fooled by the clarinets similarity to a soprano saxophone you buy a nice French wooden clarinet and start frenetic practise only to find yourself experiencing an unusual sever case of unanswered love. Clarinets are not saxophones and they will not let hopeful saxophonists get away with treating them like ones either. You will not slap your old aunt on the butt so to speak. Even extremely optimistic people know that. It’s common knowledge since beginnings of time, at least. Evolution doesn’t seem to have reached that stage of refinement when it comes to saxophonists as aspiring clarinettists though. The first reaction, normally, when the clarinet doesn’t answer your tender kisses is therefore to blame the mouthpiece. But five mouthpieces and half a fortune later you know better – I mean, it’s like in life, very few people refuses to kiss back because of the design of their own mouth. There might be rare exceptions to this rule of course but one does better to look for other explanations, at least to start with. It’s somewhere here that normal people get separated from presumptive clarinetists. When a more normal person would start to consider other objects for his or her passions and eventually surpass the clarinet to the attic the clarinetist-to-be concludes that with time there should be love. With the good karma of patience as your weapon the clarinet will give in and start to behave like a saxophone. A strong faith categorises all visionary people! But it takes more than time to become a clarinetist and the only thing that time really will do is to prove that the clarinet will never come to you. Not even selling your soul to the devil will change that.
Devils have little to no influence on clarinets which is another thing that they have in common with old aunts. They have better luck with aspiring clarinetists though, as all old aunts know. The clarinet seems to know that too so it offers it’s most persistent saxophonist admires a compromise (probably in some kind accordance with the devil) called jazz-clarinet. Jazz is great but clarinets are still clarinets even when you try to swing on them. Accordingly this serves more as an intermediate step used when hopefulness needs direction towards wisdom under the illusion of a shortcut. It’s a bit like when a woman wears lipstick on your first real date and the more you stare at her flaming mouth the more you want to kiss her even though you know it will make you look like a clown afterwards. But you are willing to do that just to make her kiss you back. And she might but by then the lipstick is long gone. The clarinet is like a women in that sense, she will not be truly yours until you love her as she really is – without the lipstick – and when you think that you finally conquered her this only means that she has got you where she wanted you to be in the first place and the real journey begins.
Many think that man invented the clarinet but basically it’s the other way around – clarinets has been creating clarinetists since forever and they will outlive us all. During years of practise you nourish your patience with the idea that you are like a wave throwing yourself against a rock making it’s edges smoother and smoother until you one day realise that it is the clarinet that is the wave and you are the one getting shaped up. This might take you (and your aunt) with surprise – and it should if it’s what you hope it is – that true love that leads to paradise. Doesn’t it always seem to fall down from the sky when you least expected it and in a way that you didn’t imagine to find it? No questions asked, it’s just there suddenly filling the gap between notes in harmony. The vision of lasting love hits you as an evening-bris at the end of a hot afternoon but you better keep your guard high. Because clarinets are clarinets and after evening comes night and then the sun rises again and another hot day makes its’ entrance. At this stage you start to wonder if short-cuts and happy endings only exist in dreams and if you should just give up or perhaps give it a go to reach happiness by trying to live your dream and be happy with that instead. Without faith would we go anywhere anyway and would any dream ever come true if we don’t believe in it to start with? Well, that is as far as I believe I’ve managed to come and to realise this project is a dream come true – in several ways – as an aspiring clarinetist, as a composer, as an arranger and as a producer. And it’s inspired by and dedicated to what I think is every man’s deepest inspiration – the women of and by his dreams – whoever they are (aunts included *) – real or just a dream. A praise to the muses in other words – that inspire us to believe in what we do and see where it carries us.
But shouldn’t liner-notes** tell us something about the actual music also? I’m of the opinion that all good music speaks for itself so you’d just better check out “Clarinet For Dreamers” for yourself and see if it speaks to you. And if it doesn’t – just listen to something else – I would – but thanks for trying!
*Who is this “aunt” you might wonder – well, in this text it refers to a woman in a man’s life who takes upon the task to size his bullshit (think P.G Woodhose’s Aunt Agatha if you like but please try to admit that you would love to be loved by her too).
** I’m not sure what liner-notes should tell but as a young man I also neared a dream to become a writer so I thought I would, as you say, “nail to flies in one hit” (translation of old Swedish say) and get some of my poetic ambitions off my chest as well.
- Invitation – Bronislaw Kaper
- Glogow Staircase – Fredrik Carlquist
- The Song Of A Stolen Heart – Fredrik Carlquist
- The Folks Who Live On The Hill – Jerome Kern
Fredrik Carlquist – clarinet & flutes / arrangements & production
Elia Bastida – violin
Felipe Escalada – viola
Marta Garcia Pons – cello
Krister Jonsson – guitar
Gustav Lundgren – guitar
Tom Warburton – bass
Jarrod Cagwin – percussion
Pinyo Marti – drums
Manu Dimango – cover art
Thank you all!!
Recorded in Sitges, Spain 2019