Clarinet concerto (clarinet with orchestra)
by Philip Bracanin (1985)
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Bracanin's mellow, dolorous music is, unusually, in the first movement of this concerto, completed in December 1985. The sense of meandering melancholy is profound, and only intensified by Bracanin's manipulation of modal fragments, leading from simpler to more complex forms as the movement progresses, and his slow-moving "Slavic" bass line. Yet the music is solidly tonal and gloriously open in its sound. In 1992 Charles Southwood observed: "You float out ideas into the gravitational field of a key, but you never let them drop back hard onto a key note, unless you want to. Instead, they all float independently of one another, and yet this gravitational field . . . holds the diversity of colours and sounds together. That's very clever."
The second movement is the concerto's most substantial, constructed upon a basis of tempo and thematic contrasts, including references back to material of the first movement. A highlight of the movement is a delightful jazz passage, where Bracanin imitates an early-1950s style. The flexible authentically swung clarinet line is accompanied by block chords on strings and brass.
Concluding this concerto is a vivace finale, which acts as a joking postlude after the more serious musical business of the first two movements. There is some rumbustious scattering of thematic fragments between soloist and the orchestral sections, before a very loud, spectacular coda for full orchestra.
© 1995 Malcolm Gillies
Instrumentation: Piccolo (doubling Flute 3), 2 flutes, oboe, 2 bassoons, contra-bassoon, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in Bb, trombone, solo slarinet in B flat, timpani, percussion (1 player), piano, strings.
Duration: 19 min.
Contents note: In 3 movements.
Written for: Floyd Williams
- In the form/style of: Concertos
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