Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra

George Rochberg

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Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

I wrote my Clarinet Concerto for Tony Gigliotti because we?ve been good friends for a long time and because I greatly admire the way he plays. This is no small impetus for a composer when he tackles a large work he?s been asked to write on commission. It stimulates and feeds the energies ? mental and emotional ? and provides the staying power for the long haul that writing a full-scale, major work requires. Also I wanted to write a work which would be a warming send-off for a real performing artist who has carried out his almost 50-year-long role as Principal Clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra with great honor, dedication, and true spirit.

When I chose the A clarinet over its B-flat counterpart, it was because it is, to my ear, richer and darker in color, while still as agile, giving me the low C-sharp I wanted for the last section of the work, the one I call ?Serenissima.? Since one thing leads to another, my choice of the A clarinet determined for the ?Serenissima? the key of A major, which in turn significantly affected the design of the overall structure of the concerto ? which is through-composed, beginning quietly and ending quietly, with a considerably wide spectrum of emotional and gestural adventures in between.

Was I thinking of Mozart?s divinely beautiful Clarinet Concerto ? not to mention his heavenly Clarinet Quintet? Yes, I was; very much so. If there are references to Mozart ? and there are ? they are best understood and heard according to Linda Hutcheon?s remarks (in her book 'A Theory of Parody') that music, like the other arts, has turned inward ?to reflect upon its own constitution?; and that this turning inward ?is one of the ways in which modern artists have managed to come to terms with the weight of the past.?
Such acts of renewal allow us to see our present in terms of the past, the past in terms of the present, vivifying both, and ultimately helping to reestablish a living continuity between ourselves and what came before us. At the end of the 20th century I consider this crucial to the ongoing life of music as an art, as we head into the uncertainties of the 21st century.

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1996
Duration 00:26:00
Orchestration Solo Cl.; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 0 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
Premiere February 22, 1996. Anthony Gigliotti/Clarinet, Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch.