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Sonata for Ab Clarinet and Piano, Op. 104 (2019)

Live Performance:

Joe Clark, Ab clarinet; Long Tao (Pierre) Tang, piano

Duration: 15'

  1. I. Bourrée
  2. II. Allemande
  3. III. Bransle Gay
  4. IV. Basse Danse

Program Notes:

During winter break 2018-2019, I found myself needing to write two sonatas - one for Ab clarinet and one for contrabass clarinet. Since these instruments serve at the opposite ends of the clarinet family, it seemed that the pieces themselves should reflect each other in some way.

On a more obvious level, the opening five bars of each clarinet part are inverted (both starting from C4). On a more conceptual level, this sonata is inspired by popular dances of the 1500s moving back through the decades (1560s-1530s) while the contrabass sonata is inspired by populuar music of the 1900s moving forwards through the decades (1930s-1960s). It should also be noted that no deep research went into the background for this piece - a cursory Google search for popular Renaissance dances by decade yielded surprisingly (?) few conclusive sources. Even once I found plausible dances, they are generally not here presented in authentic Renaissance form, but rather filtered through my knowledge of them as stylised Baroque dances., and then filtered again through my own musical language.