Concerto for Bass Clarinet

  • Bass Clarinet and String Orchestra (optional piano reduction)
  • Completed: 07 July 2008; Premiered: 17 October 2008
  • Cimarron Music Press

This concerto, composed for the music teacher and friend William T. Robinson, is scored for bass clarinet and string orchestra, with an optional piano reduction. A version is also available for bass trombone. The three-movement work is approximately nine minutes long, each movement leading directly to the next.

The first movement opens with a slow introduction based on quartal harmony. The main portion of the movement is an allegro that explores changing meters, with an ostinato based on three measures of 7/8 time followed by one measure of 6/8 time. Toward the end of the movement, this ostinato is compressed as the meters become smaller and smaller.

The second movement is slow, with a mournful character. The modal harmony is centered around D minor alternating with Eb minor. Following a brief interlude, a cadenza for the soloist brings a return to the opening theme.

The third movement is in an Afro-Caribbean style, with the violins substituting for the typical piano montuno in the main theme. Following this, the soloist adopts the montuno pattern while the violins play a soaring melody. This is followed by a call-and-response between the strings, serving as a chorus, and the soloist, which leads back to the original theme. The movement concludes with an extended cadenza for the soloist.


Don Bowyer
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