Commissioned by Colin Gray and Jenny Kena
First performed by Catherine McCorkill (clarinet), Australia Ensemble, Sir John Clancy Auditorium, University of New South Wales, Sydney 19 May 2007
Paul Dean (clarinet), Goldner Quartet, Australian Festival of Chamber Music 2009
Estonia has a truly global musical identity and a population about the size of the Sydney North Shore (about 1.3 million). Andrew Ford's Oma kodu for clarinet and string quartet tapped into that identity with a haunting meditation on a folk song from the Setu region, a culture with a nine-millennia history. Ford fragmented and isolated the song's ideas, laying them out in the opening section almost note by note, like precious garments being taken from a chest - a single note, an ornament, an interval of a fifth, a haunting phrase. It is not his style to preserve old melodies in aspic, but in this piece there was only one point where the harmonies were allowed to became smeared, creating an edgy moment and, in the modern world, perhaps a moment of reality. Ford has a capacity to explore old traditions and bring out their simplicity and interest as creative objects without getting unduly sentimental or over-reverent.
Peter McCallum,The Sydney Morning Herald