Gulper by Lisa Neher

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Gulper is for solo Bb clarinet and inspired by a deep-water fish written by Lisa Neher. Lisa is a very active composer, mezzo-soprano and teacher in Portland, Oregon. The piece has contrasting sections of free, floating notes and strict rhythmic motives. Gulper had its World Premiere performance by Taylor Gaskins, November 2, 2018 and this will be the Canadian Premiere.

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From the program notes:

“The gulper eel or pelican eel is not an eel at all but a deep-water fish named for its enormous, pelican-like mouth, which is much larger than the rest of its long, skinny body. At the end of its tail, the gulper eel has a special organ with many small tentacles that glows pink and occasionally flashes red to attract prey, mostly squid and crustaceans.

It is tragic and deeply frustrating that what little we know about these animals comes from those inadvertently caught in fishing nets. The sudden change of temperature as they are pulled from the depths to the surface kills them, and thus research on live gulper eels in their natural habit is extremely limited.

In this piece, the gulper eel comes to life, illuminating its lure, lying in wait for prey, moving about in the deep sea with its whip-like tail, and finally coming in for the kill. I hope this piece cultivates interest and empathy for this fascinating and mysterious creature.”

-Lisa Neher