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Clarinet concerto consists of two contrasting movements. The first is a soft and delicate scherzo with light
vanishing passages of clarinet covered by echoes of the ensemble. The second movement starts with meditative psalmody,
as if the instruments recite a hidden sacred text. The theme undergoes intensive elaboration and spreads this quasi-vocal
style of playing among all the instruments, including percussion and having the most strange appearance in tom-toms brief
cadenza. At the certain point the slow movement is interrupted by animated episode which leads to the dramatic climax of
the whole piece. Solo clarinet always plays the role of the leader of the ensemble, its challenging part contains many
virtuoso elements and exploits various expressive and technical recourses. The technical basement of the piece is
a combination of free atonality and modality which also incorporates some tonal elements.
Concerto was commissioned by the festival New Paths in Music, New York. It was premiered in 2010 in New York by Alan R. Kay and The New Paths Ensemble conducted by David Alan Miller.
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© 2010 by Alexander Shchetynsky