About this work:
Concert Piece for four clarinets is a descendant of the Konzertstck of the German Romantics, a piece remarkable for its display of virtuosity, expressive rhetoric, and unconventional form. Completed in 1986 and first performed in New York City at a concert of the National Association of Composers/USA in 1987, Concert Piece is one of several works for three or four either identical instruments or instruments of the same immediate family which I have written in order to provide music of serious intent for instrumental combinations whose repertories are neither extensive nor, I believe, particularly distinguished in quality. Both the technical and interpretive demands made on the performers of these works are comparable to those made by the string quartet repertory. In listening to Concert Piece one might almost imagine a single clarinetist playing four intricate contrapuntal lines on one instrument of extraordinarily wide range.
Although the association is superficial and was not intended, the formal plan of Concert Piece somewhat resembles that of the French overture of the Baroque Era; a long, slow section pervaded by dotted rhythms returns in modified form at the end and so frames the central fast section which constitutes the body of the work. The form of this
body displays some of the salient features of the first movements of most Classical sonatas, that is, it has two groups of contrasting themes, the first, strongly accented, with tones often short and detached, the second, sustained, yet flowing quickly in alternating rhythms of twos and threes; a development section of heightened intensity which exploits these themes; and, finally, a much varied recapitulation, which slips into the picture with little to announce it or to distinguish it from the preceding section except for the melodic contours
of the themes themselves and the gradually relaxing of tension which leads at last to the final slow section.
Concert Piece for four clarinets is published by Seesaw Music Corp., New York City, and is recorded on Centaur Records CRC 2079.
Version: four clarinets
Year composed: 1986
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Other Combinations, 2-5 players
Instrumentation: 1 Eb Clarinet, 1 Clarinet, 1 Alto Clarinet, 1 Bass Clarinet