• Elizabeth Maconchy
  • Quintet for Clarinet and Strings (1963)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Minehead Concerts Society

  • 2vln.vla.vc
  • clarinet
  • 13 min

Programme Note

This Quintet for clarinet and strings was written for Gervase de Peyer and the Dartington String Quartet and first performed by them in 1964.

1. Poco lento - allegro moderato
2. Scherzo presto - andante - presto
3. Lento
4. Allegro molto

The statement of the opening paragraph - the adjacent major seconds in the strings, and the melodic fragments for clarinet - form the nucleus from which the whole work grows, and everything that follows is related to these ideas. The interlocking seconds expand into autonomous phrases and the intervals of the brief clarinet melody become the basis for harmonic as well as melodic development.

The Scherzo in 11/8 time is a traditional ABA structure, with an expressive middle section.

The clarinet expands into melodic phrases and arabesques in the slow movement and is briefly joined by the cello in a fervent duet.

The cheerful theme of the last movement gives way to some recapping of the earlier material, then ends (with a bang, not a whimper) what is a mainly extrovert and optimistic piece.

Copyright: Elizabeth Maconchy

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