Once I had written sonatas for alto clarinet and contra-alto clarinet, there was simply nothing for it but to continue writing sonatas for all the clarinets I can get my hands on.
The form of this piece was inspired by my composer friend Jonathan Kane. At one point, he discussed a multimovement form where the first movement is at a moderate tempo and then it spreads out in alternation, ever faster and ever slower. While I'm not sure if he ever made use of the idea, I found it fascinating and decided I would use it someday.
Indeed, this tempo structure ended up defining a good deal of the piece, since numerically it can be represented as 3-4-2-5-1. This sequence (and various permutations) came to pervade the entire piece, defining everything from small-scale melodic and rhythmic figurations to harmonic progressions, key areas, and large-scale formal structure. Note that the five movements are performed attacca.
The piece is planned to premiere in spring 2018 with Joe Clark, basset horn and Pierre Long-Tao Tang, piano.