Riflesso sull'arco


parts without score
for bass clarinet, trombone, cello & piano (2016)
20 minutes | no.42

Riflesso sull’arco ('sheen on the arch/bow') is part of the Riflessi series, which consists exclusively of companion pieces: each Riflesso explores the same exceptional scoring of a classic from the last century. Riflesso sull’arco is a companion piece for Swinging Music (1970) by the Polish composer Kazimierz Serocki. It is scored for bass clarinet, trombone, cello and piano.

In Riflesso sull’arco we hear four arches of sound, one after the other. The arches slowly grow to their highest point, using nothing more than harmonic overtones, and then gradually come down again. The first pedal point is on B-flat, the second on A-natural, the third on C-natural, and the last one on B-natural. In German these pitches read: B-A-C-H. At points where harmonic partials occur – i.e. 1/12 of the total length, 1/11, 1/10, up to the very midpoint of 1/2, and then continuing until 11/12 – a sudden ‘knot’ of sound erupts.

All sounds we hear are acting, i.e. not talking; they have no meaning or message; they simply exist in time and space, and last.

Image: Poured Painting: Dark Red, Black, Dark Red (1998) by Ian Davenport (reproduced with permission from the artist)


bass clarinet

commissioned by

Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ

with financial support from

Ammodo Foundation

Written for

Ives Ensemble

dedicated to

Peter Adriaansz


12 January 2017
Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Ives Ensemble



Riflesso sull’arco is [...] a tightly structured succession of static, sonorous, softly tinted harmonies, interspersed with small eruptions. This musical equivalent of a Hitchcock beauty like Grace Kelly is coloured by a bass clarinet, a trombone, a cello and a piano, which has very few ‘ordinary’ notes, but instead, lots of bowed string sounds and ominous bangs on the framework. [...] Just with the première of this new Rijnvos alone does the Ives Ensemble present an equally extravagant as fascinating concert, one that raises existential questions.

Roeland Hazendonk, Het Parool, 14 January 2017

Durham based composer Richard Rijnvos's recent Riflesso sull'arco is a companion piece, appropriating Serocki's combination of clarinet, trombone, cello and piano to create a haunting overtone study or spectral composition. Rigorously time-controlled, the piano part acted as a signal: "at points where harmonic partials occur, a sudden 'knot' of sound erupts", the composer comments.

Andy Hamilton, The Wire, Issue 410, April 2018

Audio Fragments


Ives Ensemble


12 January 2017, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam (NL)
by Omroep Max Dutch Radio (reproduced with permission)

Riflesso sull'arco

excerpt 1

Riflesso sull'arco

excerpt 2

Riflesso sull'arco

excerpt 3

Score Excerpts

CD Recording