Solo Clarinet and Wind Ensemble (2014) 25′
Myroslava Hagen, clarinet, University of Utah Wind Endsemble, Scott Hagen, cond.
Beat Rosenast, clarinet, Orchestre d’harmonie de Fribourg, Jean-Claude Kolly, cond. Live Performance, 3,4 October 2015
Dawn Lindblade, clarinet, University of Central Oklahoma Wind Ensemble, Brian Lamb, cond.
Jeffrey Hodes, Clarinet, Brooklyn Wind Symphony, Jeff W. Ball, cond. Live performance, WASBE 2015 San Jose, 13 July 2015. Mark Morette, Recording EngineerMark Custom Recording Service
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The expressive antecedents are more Romantic – composers such as Franz Liszt and Carl Maria von Weber – powerful expression and a ripping-good technical challenge for the soloist.
Program Note 1
While this concerto is distinctly a modern piece it has strong Classical and Romantic antecedents. The Classical elements are the simple title, which offers no sense of story, the movement titles “Lamentation” and “Dance”, which are only very general indications of attitude, and the very direct formal construction, particularly of the second movement. I might even say that formally the piece harkens back to the Baroque toccata and fugue – a free improvisatory movement followed by a strictly formal and rhythmically energized second movement.
The Romantic elements are in the qualities of expression. I have long counted Franz Liszt as a spiritual ancestor, and as a young clarinetist I made my way through the concerto pieces of Carl Maria von Weber – lots of notes, speed, and powerful personal expression in both these composers.
And yet this is very much a piece of our time. We are going through a major world change, possibly the major world change, with technological advances whipping us along at incredible speeds. With the advent of instant communication and information we are at last beginning to see and understand the human race as one entity, and in immediate relationship with the rest of creation. This huge shift requires intense dream time, especially conscious dream time, and music powerfully opens this dream space. “Lamentation:” a deep mourning as we view our personal troubles, and the troubles of the world; “Dance:” a springing leap forward into a new world.
Program Note 2
The Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble grows out of my life-long association with the clarinet. It was my beginning instrument over sixty years ago, and has stayed with me all through the years. I have written many pieces for it, and it is now a deeply personal voice through which my music speaks freely and passionately.
This concerto is full of deep feeling, but it does not have a personal story. The two movements, “Lamentation” and “Dance,” present the classic masks of tears and laughter. “Lamentation” is very interior and very beautiful – it breaks my heart. “Dance” unfolds in the old sonata form with clear melodies, a bubbling and sometimes urgent energy, and a final release into beautiful quiet.