Sonata for Clarinet and Piano


This is a version for clarinet in Bb of my "Abitur-Sonate" for viola and piano, the transformation of which is nothing but a "natural" consequence because both instruments have a comparable ambitus and are in need of new compositions. The positive reaction of clarinetists to my - substantially enlarged - concert-version (with strings) of this sonata proves to what extent this composition "flatters" the remarkable, varied registers of this instrument. The few double-stops of the string version could easily be dropped or transformed into arpeggios.


The Adagio's beginning with its five lowest tones of the instrument - solo! - will certainly please all clarinetists, as well as the melancholic 8-bar theme, which does not leave the lower register. It is contrasted, but never seriously challenged, by an expressive arpeggio in the bass of the piano, which falls into a pedal-point, a motif which characterizes the whole movement.

The following interlude is a complete contrast to the opening with the clarinet climbing into its high register with an ensuing lyrical episode in quarters (crotchets) while an "entwining" treble solo of the piano's right hand in eighths (quavers) introduces a slight acceleration.

This leads to a reprise of the initial piano motif, now counterpointed by the clarinet which has taken up the piano's movement in eighths. Finally, in the coda, the piano lures the clarinet into an echoing of its characteristic arpeggio until the latter is won over and makes it her own.


In quick waltz-time the clarinet can show here its sprightliness and agility, its enourmous ambitus, and the great range of different moods, starting from a boisterous quaver-like motif, which later is inverted and leads into a short stretto and alternating with lyrical episodes.

As a final climax, the obstinate suspension motif in the piano is "cut in half" leading into a dramatic "handle-lesque" general rest and followed by its energetic final completion by both instruments.

Hartwig Riedl

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano - Audio

I Allegro

II Adagio

III Presto

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