Little Symphony was written as a part of a birthday offering to composer Barney Childs. Over the years, Barney had been friend and mentor to dozens of younger composers. I am very happy to say that I was among them. On the occasion of his 64th birthday, his performing colleague, clarinetist Phillip Rehfeldt, asked many of us to compose brief pieces for solo clarinet. He asked that we try to hold ourselves to a single page, and I took him literally. My intent became to write the biggest possible piece in the shortest space. The result is this four-movement ironically titled “Symphony.” The work was originally published in the now out-of-print Etudes for the Twenty-first-Century Clarinetist, an anthology/collection of 37 works representing a wide range of contemporary clarinet techniques.
Barney didn’t care much for the old German masters or that way of musical thinking, and so my offering is a bit of a musical twist of the nose. In addition I made this a signature piece for Barney – pitch material comes only from the “musical” letters from Barney’s name: BArnEy CHilDS. (B A E C B♭ D E♭)