Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet

for Eb Clarinet, trumpet, bassoon, trombone, double bass and percussion

dedicated to John Bruce Yeh and Chicago Pro Musica

The Clarinet In My Mind
The Clarinet In My Mind

Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet was composed for and dedicated to clarinetist John Bruce Yeh. The music makes dramatic shifts between the E-flat clarinet’s high virtuous technical flights and its mystical, expressive qualities. The sound resources for entire work are entirely derived from the clarinet’s opening descending line that quickly developes into a succession of firey cadenzas. The soloist then leads the ensemble in a highly spirited dance of counterpoint and rhythm.

Notes from the composer:

“The clarinet was my first instrument.  I always thought it was a magical instrument because I could travel through an extraordinary world of sound when I played it with its deep honking notes, the rich and mellow chalumeau tones, its breathy middle register, its powerful and ringing clarion voice, and its piercing tippy top notes!  I switched to piano when I was in high school.  Ever since, I have missed that instrument.  So, when I met clarinetist John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony when I was the composer-in-residence for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and he invited me to compose a piece for  his ensemble, Chicago Pro Musica, I felt this great excitement of returning to my musical roots.  However, he wanted me to compose a piece for the piccolo Eb clarinet an instrument that I considered an orchestra color instrument designed  for the over orchestrated music of Wagner and Strauss-not the music that I chose to draw inspiration from at the time.  Instead, I drew my inspiration from the french high-wire artist, Philippe Petit who was making news in the late 1980s. I  decided that I wanted to make this little but powerful instrument fly high on a high tension wire!  So,  Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet was composed for and dedicated to clarinetist John Bruce Yeh, who played the heck out of that piece.”

 Here the reviews from some of the early performances of the piece:

” (Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet) is an absorbing and well-made piece,”  John von Rhein, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“Neil’s Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet achieved another-worldly atmosphere with its fluid melodies for E-Flat clarinet…”  Wilma Salisbury, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

Audio from the premiere

John Bruce Yeh, Piccolo Clarinet Chicago Pro Musica.

Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet

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View the  score:

Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet

Arrangement for Chamber Orchestra

View an excerpt from the  score:

Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra

 

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