Three Pieces

Three Pieces2017-03-13T19:06:55+00:00

Project Description

Clarinet in B♭ and Piano
17 min.

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Barney Childs, piano; Phillip Rehfeldt, clarinet
On the album Hiller, Yttrehus, and Maslanka (1980)

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Preview Score

Commissioned by

Part of the “New Music for Clarinet and Friend” series supported by the University of Redlands.

Program Note

Three Pieces was commissioned in 1974 by Phillip Rehfeldt and Barney Childs for their Clarinet and Friend series. It was completed in 1975 and has since been widely performed.

The first piece is understated – elliptical, secretive, willful. Spidery, sparse textures of the beginning and end surround a central episode of denser, more tonally-oriented material. The piece embodies altogether a deliberate contrary juxtaposition of clarinet and piano.

The second piece, marked “aggressive, explosive,” is a rough, raucous, bursting movement giving the impression of improvisation, though with the exception of one small section, it is entirely composed. Again there is a deliberate separation of clarinet and piano material. The effect is of two musics occupying roughly the same space but having very little to do with each other. The underlying tonal orientation of the whole piece begins to emerge in the piano writing.

Number three follows with only brief pause. It is a gentle reconciliation of forces leading to a chorale-like passage with clarinet and piano in rhythmic lockstep. There follows a gradual revelation of the key of C# major and a long, ethereal coda for piano alone.

Program notes by David Maslanka.

Commissioning Background

“New Music for Clarinet and Friend” is a body of 32 commissioned works, performances and recordings especially for and by composer Barney Childs and clarinetist Phillip Rehfeldt. It was supported, beginning in 1974 to about 1988, by a series of usually modest Summer-Research Grants from the Faculty-Research Committee of the University of Redlands. “Accompaniments” range, in various combinations, from piano, reader, video, synthesizer, electronics, to theater and wall hangings. Barney died in 2000. His music is housed in Armocost Library at the University of Redlands.

Background by Phillip Rehfeldt.

Further Reading