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Quintet for clarinet and string quartet

Sheet Music: Performance Parts

Quintet for clarinet and string quartet / Nigel Sabin.

by Nigel Sabin (2013)

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  • Instrumentation: Clarinet, 2 violins, viola, cello.


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Having played the clarinet for most of my life and having pursued a career as a composer, I felt that I'd like to make a contribution to the repertoire for the clarinet and string quartet. I intended that the piece would sound virtuosic for the clarinet without being overly arduous for a professional musician to play. Another goal I set when writing this piece was to achieve an overall architecture which would be balanced in its proportions and satisfying in its overarching listening experience.

The quintet is in three movements and the first and last movements are relatively abstract.

The first movement juxtaposes moments of brightness and buoyancy with episodes which are darker and more mysterious (Halloween-like), though typically none of it is very serious.

The second movement, subtitled Elizabeth Macquarie, fulfills the function of a traditional scherzo movement. Elizabeth Macquarie, the wife of New South Wales Governor, Lachlan Macquarie (appointed 1809), was an active supporter of her husband's plan to transform the penal settlement at Sydney into a thriving settler colony.

Elizabeth displayed particular concern for women convicts, and was interested in ensuring that all people, including the colony's indigenous inhabitants, were treated equitably by the state. Earlier training in architecture also enabled her to supply valuable advice to Francis Greenway, her husband's architect. My music is a pure fantasy in which I imagine Elizabeth grabbing a horse one morning and going for a ride around the growing settlement just for the joy of it.

The final movement is a set of variations on an original theme. I have never written variations before so this is another first for me. The opening statement of the theme functions in the overall architecture of the piece as a slow movement, a moment of repose after all the relative busy-ness of the previous two movements.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 set of 5 performance parts (83p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 15 mins, 30 sec.

Contents note:

1. Light and Shadow -- 2. Elizabeth Macquarie -- 3. Variations.

Typeset edition.

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Quintet for clarinet and string quartet
Score: Quintet for clarinet and string quartet / Nigel Sabin.


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