My about-to-drift-off listening last night was Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps, a piece of which I am very fond, which I have long known and often studied, so I am at peace with the idea of drifting into sleep at some point in the Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus. There are some ways in which the performance is a bit shy of ideal, but still worthy the listening.
Each successive movement is scored for a different combination (after the example of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire). Of the four instruments, it is the clarinet which Messiaen singles out for the sole movement for but one instrument; and it is the longest single movement. (It was this boldness which in part inspired, for instance, my own Studies in Impermanence.)
In the middle of what proved a very restful night, I lay briefly awake, and I started to think of a new unaccompanied clarinet piece. I 'heard' the first few phrases in real time, and then as I caught a mental breath, I thought — Karl, you have other things to write, and you don't need another unaccompanied clarinet piece; let use be found for the unaccompanied clarinet pieces you've already written, first.
So, on my mind's blackboard in the middle of the dark night, I took those two-three lines of clarinet music, and tentatively re-scored them for small cello ensemble.
Quite separately, at work I found a pad of note-paper, whose topmost sheet was nearly blank. All that was written was 3lbs stew, in tidy proximity to the upper edge.
And I thought: What a fine name for a band.