Quintet for Clarinets

for 3 Bb clarinets, Bb bass clarinet, Eb contra clarinet

An excerpt from a performance of Quintet for Clarinets can be heard at this link:
Quintet for Clarinets - II (excerpt)

Much of the clarinet's wide range of expression is used within the two movements of this quintet. In the first movement, a slow, somewhat melancholy melody is played by the bass clarinet while the other instruments supply a slowly progressing somber harmonic backdrop. The second movement contrasts this mood by opening with quick, lightly articulated motives that eventually coalesce into a melodic statement. Intensity and drive increase throughout this movement until a climax of extreme range and dynamics is reached. In light of the somber first movement and the light-hearted opening of the second movement, this high climax seems to add a bit of irony -- as if the joy of the second movement is somehow being sabotaged by the melancholia of the first. There is a brief episode of syncopated repeated chords, after which the second movement's opening material returns and the piece is brought to its conclusion.

(duration ca. 9:30)

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