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Clarinet in chamber music - quartets (in alphabetical order):
COSMIC PORTRAITS (2009) by Howard J. Buss consists of 3 movements inspired by views of objects in the Milky Way galaxy. The titles of the first two movements, The Backbone of Night and The Pale Blue Dot are taken from the writings of the renowned astrophysicist, Carl Sagan. In his book, Cosmos, he describes how the !Kung Bushman in Botswana refer to the Milky Way as “the backbone of night.” The spine of the Milky Way often appears directly over the Kalahari Desert. The !Kung believe it to be the structural foundation of the heavens and that one of its functions in relation to Earth, among many, is that it holds up the darkness.
DRY BONES, the well-known African American spiritual (the foot bone's connected to the leg bone, the leg bone's connected to the...), arranged by Howard Buss, makes a wonderful concert feature as well as a rousing musical offering in church. Multiple players may be used on each part to expand the ensemble. This arrangement is hugely influenced by jazz. The composer wrote an extended two-part introduction which begins hymn-like, and then breaks out in a jubilant jazzy section. This is followed by a more traditional rendering of the spiritual; however, as the music reaches its climax, the jazz "licks" from the introduction are brought back as counterpoint against the main melody of the spiritual. The result is exhilarating, and for a bit of humor, just as the work ends, there is a "tongue-in-cheek" plagal cadence. (230) Grade IV.
Dry Bones clarinet quartet score sample: Excerpt.pdf
Dry Bones woodwind quartet sound sample: Excerpt.mp3; Score_Sample.pdf
ELAINE'S IMITATION DANCE for woodwind quartet (flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon) by Allen Molineux. On the American hit TV show, Seinfeld, the character Elaine once did a spastic dance that has since become iconic. This delightful woodwind quartet is a spasmodic dance during which a number of different styles make brief appearances. It is a short, lighthearted composition inspired by Elaine’s unintentionally comical moves, and features vivacious imitative counterpoint. Score and parts are included. (4’13”) Grade V. Sound samples: 1.mp3, 2.mp3; 3.mp3
FANTASY QUARTET (2003) for flute, clarinet, bassoon & marimba (plays also temple blocks) by Scott Jordan in 3 movements: Pixie Dance, Magic Forest, and Sprites. The first is a spirited, playful forest scene which employs contrasting metric feels simultaneously The second evokes a mysterious nocturnal ambience with an overlapping of ethereal long tones and echoes. The third is quick and dance-like. Utilizing a 4-note scale, its colorful, rhythmic melodies are juggled among the 4 instruments. (11) Grade V.
Excerpt, Movement 1.mp3, Excerpt movement 2.mp3, Excerpt, Movement 3.mp3
FESTIVAL (1996) for flute/piccolo, C flute & 2 Bb clarinets by Howard J. Buss is an imaginative quartet which exudes a contagious optimism. This beautiful, compelling work showcases Buss unique style of soaring lyricism and exciting contrasts. Everyone in the ensemble has a interesting part as well. It is a memorable and upbeat concert piece and makes a joyous musical offering in church. (620) Grade V.
LULLABY OF THE SEA (2002) for oboe, clarinet, alto sax & bassoon by Robert J. Frank was inspired by the gently undulating waves, shimmering moonlight on the surface, and gentle brezzes of the ocean on a quiet evening in a warm, tropical part of the world. Rolling gestures in the accompaniment compliment the gentle melodic theme, with the occasional call of the seagull. As the music draws to a close, the wind and waves still, lulling the final saxophone melody into blissful sleep. (2’) Grade IV.
Sound Sample: Excerpt.mp3 - Score sample: Excerpts.pdf
PRELUDE AND INTRADA for woodwind quartet (flute, oboe, clarinet & bassoon) by Howard J. Buss. This attractive quartet features lyrical writing, and spirited rhythmic drive. The Prelude combines fanfare and lyrical sections as well as tonal and polytonal harmonies. The festive Intrada is in an ABA-Coda format and features crisp, energetic rhythms and lyrical contrapuntal writing. This is a memorable feature number or an impressive contest piece. Multiple players may be used on each part.. (5’30”) Grade IV.
Sound Samples:Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3 - - Score Sample: excerpt.pdf
TRADITIONS (1990, 2014) for violin, clarinet, guitar & string bass by Howard J. Buss was commissioned by the Luski Endowment for Viva Klezmer! as part of the nationwide 50th Anniversary Celebration of the American Music Center. In 2014 the composer revised the work, further developing some sections. It is a synthesis of traditional Jewish Klezmer music and elements of Western concert music. From the ornate opening cadenza (based upon the well-known "Shalom Alechem" melody to the jubilant, energetic "freilach" which concludes the work, Traditions spans a wide range of emotions. It is meticulously notated so that even if one has not performed Klezmer music before, it is relatively easy to play in this exciting style. (710) Grade IV-V.
Score Samples: Score_excerpt.pdf; Clarinet part.pdf - Sound Sample: Excerpt.mp3
TRIBUTE TO KEROUAC for clarinet, tenor sax, piano & string bass by David Alpher was inspired by the work, life, and times of Jack Kerouac, King of the Beat Generation. Cast in 7 movements, this composition is influenced by jazz. In the preface to the score the composer writes: "Kerouac demonstrated the epic contradiction of America: on the one hand its wild energy, joy of life, and expansiveness; on the other, its tendency to self-destruct. Tribute to Kerouac is my musical response to, and commemoration of, this important American writer who liked to describe himself as a 'jazz.poet.'" This work is recorded on Ongaku Records CD#024-112. (17) Grade V.
Sound Samples: I. American Nocturne Sample.mp3; II. Movin On Sample.mp3; III. Remembered Sample.mp3;
IV. Intermezzo Sample.mp3; V. Beat Scene Sample.mp3; VI. Urgency Sample.mp3; VII. Epilogue Sample.mp3
WINTER WINDS for woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet & bassoon) by Roger Vogel reflects the vivid contrasts of winter - from the soft winds that accompany falling snow, to the sharp winds that chill to the bone. Recorded on the CD Sunlight and Shadows by the University of Georgia Woodwind Quartet - ACA-CM20085. (1515) Grade V.
Sound Samples: Excerpt, Movement 1A.mp3; Excerpt, Movement 1B.mp3;
Excerpt, Movement 2A.mp3; Excerpt, Movement 2B.mp3
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Index of Clarinet Music: (Click on an instrumentation link, works are listed in alphabetical order within each category.)
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