Sonata for Clarinet Op.514
Sonata for Clarinet Op.514 is Andy Firth’s first Sonata for Clarinet and piano.
The work consists of four contrasting movements and is designed to be of an advanced level chamber work for the clarinet.
The work is set in the key of G minor with the 2nd movement being in the key of C major and the third movement in G minor but ending on a G major chord via the use of a Tierce de Picardie. The 4th movement is in G minor as would be expected.
Movement 1: Allegro Serioso
Set in the key of G minor, the feel of this movement is serious, dark and somewhat doloroso. The main theme is a simple but dramatic ten-bar phrase that is developed and enhanced as the movement progresses.
The second theme is a more romantically-inspired theme that leads to the third theme which is largely based on the melodic material of the first theme. Section “E” see the clarinet undertake a series of virtuosic phrases and passages that embellish and complement the theme being stated in the piano part. A simple but poignant motive gently emerges in the latter half of section “E”. This theme is picked up and developed by the piano and becomes established as a recurring motive up until section “H”.
The romantic theme is re-introduced and embellished and extended throughout section “H” before the main theme returns at the end of section “I” and extends through to the end of the movement.
Movement 2: Adagio Cantabile
The piano begins this movement with a solemn two-bar theme in the tonic minor (C minor). The clarinet soloist then establishes the movement’s tonality as being that of C major via the introduction of a gentle, romantic main theme that extends from section “A” through to “B” that tests the soloist’s tonal and expression abilities to the full. The piano takes the theme whilst the clarinet embellishes, extends and re-works the melodic material.
The second theme for this movement is introduced by the clarinet in section “C” before the piano re-introduces the main theme once more.
The piano plays a full, very embellished and flourished version of the main theme at section “F” before the clarinet re-enters with a virtuosic display of arpeggios and runs at section “G”.
A final statement of the theme is introduced by the clarinet in section “H” only this time in a more calm and sedate style and feel before the work slowly winds down to its conclusion via the same two-bar C minor motive the movement began with before the clarinet re-establishes the movement’s C major tonality via a gentle arpeggio up to ta held final tonic note.
Movement 3: Allegretto
This movement is a quirky, quasi-homage to the music and style of J.S Bach. The movement is never fully Baroque, classical or 20th Century in its style which gives the overall effect of the thematic material being formal yet free-flowing and light-hearted.
Movement 4: Adagio-Serioso/ Allegro Con Spiritoso
The final movement of this work begins slow, dark and serious like the first movement tended to be, but all is not as it seems and suddenly the clarinet breaks free of the morose darkness and springs to life. The Allegro Con Spitioso section of this movement which extends from section “A” to “C” is based on the feel and style of a lively tarantella. It skips and leaps joyfully about as though the darkness that introduced the movement never happened.
Section “C” however, sees a more ominous and complex character arise from the music via and more languid theme in the clarinet accompanied by a challenging combination of triple-meter feel in the right hand of the piano and a four-feel “walking bass” in the left hand. This gives the music a restless, but familiar feel to it.
Section “D” introduces an extended and more romantic version of the melodic theme portrayed in section “C” before section “E” re-establishes the feel and type of serious and full-bodied material that the first movement contains. However, once again, the clarinet refusing to be bound by the seriousness of this material, suddenly springs forth into the Allego Con Spiriotoso “tarantella” from section “A” only this time it leaps headlong into a solo cadenza section.
The final section of the work, (“I” to “J”) sees the clarinet re-introduce the doloroso darkness of the main theme from the first movement whilst the piano persists with the light-hearted “tarantella” theme. At section “J” the clarinet joins the piano in the spirited theme from the “tarantella” and the two joyfully dance their way to the final high note conclusion of the work.
This product includes the clarinet part, piano accompaniment (as password-locked pdfs), and performance and piano backing tracks (as mp3s).