Written for Harrison Birtwistle
This is a dramatic, emphatic and at times extravagant piece. The first movement is a Moderato reaching through wide-flung clarinet lines and keen piano gestures to a great climax near the end. Then comes a quick movement, a kind of demonic scherzo, including a cadenza for the clarinettist. The finale is an Adagio that gradually achieves a sort of simplicity, though not before exceedingly testing times for both players.