Print and download in PDF or MIDI Double Clarinet Concerto Op 1/3 Allegro. 1/3 Allegro Concerto pour 2 clarinettes Franz Vicenz Krommer.
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The Double Clarinet Concerto While there are not many regularly performed double clarinet concertos, it is truly a crowd pleasing instrumentation to find on stage. An extremely versatile instrument, the clarinet is able to c onvey many different characters and moods. In the early nineteenth century, the character of the classical clarinet was often light and playful, which was arguably due to a want to follow in the success of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.
R epertoire at this time was written to explore the full range of the clarinet, result ing in a trend of many scalar and arppegiated melodi c lines. T he double clarinet concertos of Franz Krommer especially exploit the above, to the point where they might almost be considered “fluff”. I n order to successfully c reate a light and playful piece however, it could be argued that he did exactly what was necessary.
This meant writing a theme that would make the audience smile, and then manipulating it between the two clarinets to create a seamless texture.
Concerto for 2 clarinets & orchestra in E flat major, Op. 91
Often, this result s in the clarinets dove-tailing between melodic lines, or playing together in thirds and octaves. Krommer also loved to write sustained passages where the clarinets would create one suspension after another.
From a clarinetist’s perspective, the success of performing a Krommer double concerto lies in making the deceptively simple sound simple. It must come across as absolutely effortless, even though it is a challenge to tune such diatonic intervals, and of course match in every other way possible.
Sabine Meyer and Julian Bliss do a great job of introducing the double clarinet concerto through touching on both the Krommer Op. Krommer is a Czechoslovakian composer who is most known for his wind instrument writing. He spent the majority of his career in Vienna, where he held a number of posts as Kapellmeister. In addition, Krommer also traveled to Italy and France, where krokmer received various honours.
This was Krommer’s second of two double clarinet concertos. Written aroundkromer ten years after his first double concerto, it is without question the more challenging of the two ; perhaps showing his growth as a composer. Found in three movements, Allegro, Adagio and Alla Pollaca, the concerto is stereotypically classical, bringing a lightness to the stage that is bound to leave the audience with a bounce in their step.
The clarinetists enjoy a little more solo time within this movement, and the individual parts are largely written with the intent of call and response. Overall, it is a delightful work, that features the virtuosity of two clarinets together. The main aspect of a successful performance lies in the interplay between the clarinetists.
This interplay is largely built right into the score, however there is still a lot that rel ies on the players’ technique and willingness to become one overall voice. As mentioned above, the concerto has been written in such a way that it becomes a stereo experience.
Krommer – Concerto for 2 clarinet Op.91 1/3
There are essentially two krommmer for the clarinets to stand on stage; either side by side, mainly facing kromjer audience, or on either side of the stage, angled towards each other.
Krommer suggests the latter, for he wanted to create an antiphonal effect. Both settings are common to see, and I too have experimented in the past. In the end however, I do feel that it is jrommer to stand on either side kromjer the stage as Krommer wanted.
Not only is the textural effect there, it allows for better eye contact, and communication between the two players. The antiphonal effect that Krommer creates happens in two ways. First of all oo with each voice coming from either side of the stage. Second of all, the writing is often with the voices in different octaves, or moving in opposite directions.
This displacement of where the sound is coming from, and actual pitch movement creates a different type of listening experience, that is especially heightened when you eliminate the sense of sight. Try closing your eyes, and listening to the following two clips of the 1st movementwhich are from a performance during my undergrad for best results, listen through headphones: By closing your eyes and listening, you may have f elt your eyes trying to follow where the sound was coming from, and in what direction it was going.
L isten again, this time trying to specifically following one voice or the other. You may find that you naturally want to follow one voice over the otherdepending on what you find more interesting. That is the beauty of the antiphonal effect. The listener’s sense of hearing is always moving to comprehend and find what is being heard, even if it is right krommee front of them. The performers’ job therefore is to create a unity between their sounds so that the audience can not necessarily pick out who is playing what, and has to rely on their sense of hearing to figure it out.
Let kromjer explore the third movement to demonstrate just how that is possible. The first thing that must be noted about the third movement is that the two voices are really quite equal when it comes to labeling one as Clarinet I and the o ther as Clarinet II.
This is not the case in Krommer’s writing, which is a wonderful thing as it helps to eliminate any assumptions regarding the relationship between skill and part assignment.
It also allows for a true creation of antiphonal effect as the general expectations of Clarinet I and II are removed from the audience’s pre-programmed ears. Krommer creates this in the third movement by orchestrating the clarinet voices in three different ways: Voices Trading Melodic Lines This starts right from the first clarinet entry, which is surprisingly in the second clarinet.
For 8 measures, Clarinet II states the initial sentence. Then Clarinet I takes over for 11 measures, stating a second sentence. Clarinet II then comes back with the initial sentence, but instead of passing it back to Clarinet I, continues on with a restatement of the second sentence. Finally, Clarinet I finishes with a more ornamented version of the initial sentence. An krmmer feeling of an “ABABA” cycle is created, and this is not so much upset, but enhanced by the presence of the antiphonal effect.
For it to be effective, both players need to know who has the melody, and therefore who should be slightly keommer present. This passage must also feel like it is always calmly pressing forwards so that the passing of the melody is seamless, therefore causing the listener’s ear to be interested in finding what has changed.
This too will aid in creating an effortless pass. Listen to how Sabine Meyer and Krlmmer Bliss successfully create this effect: Kp Moving Together in Intervals As mentioned above, Krommer frequently utilizes writing the clarinet voices in unison irommer, but in highly diatonic intervals. These intervals are normally octaves kommer thirds. Octaves are the hardest to tune for clarinet players, as each octave of the clarinet has its own characteristics, and therefore pitch tendencies.
This is espe cially important for young oo to know, as it is extremely obvious when octaves are out. Generally, the lower octave will probably need to be brought down in pitch.
This takes out some of the brightness, and creates a solid bas e to support the upper octave. It will also likely need to be stronger than the upper octave for the balance to be correct.
These guidelines of course must be adjusted for the overall dynamic, as certain octaves carry more variable pitch results than others when paired with dynamic level. When octaves are in tune and balanced, the result is a clear and pristine single sound of one pitch, but somehow two octaves. Thirds are less challenging to make sound pleasing to the ear. This krommeer especially true since Krommer often writes them in quick passages where the notes fly by so fast, it would be krommmer to raise an eyebrow one way or another.
Thirds are also extremely crowd pleasing. Audience comments often go something like, “That’s so cute!
The antiphonal effect created by fine tuning these intervals could be described as a timbre mind-trick. How could one congealed sound possibly be made up of two parts that are coming from opposite directions? The audience is no longer listening to two clarinets playing on stage, and is instead right in the middle of a unity of sound.
Allow Meyer and Bliss to demonstrate: Voices as an Afterthought The final way in which Krommer utilizes the two voices for antiphonal effect is by using one as the obvious main voice, and the other as an almost interjectory, afterthought to whatever was stated. It is important that the players know their roles so that the effect is exactly this, and not two voices that feel that they are of equal importance.
This leaves the main voice needing to come forward a little more, and the answering voice to come back a little, while still emerging out of the main voice. The antiphonal effect here is interesting compared to the previous because of the difference in role, krom,er therefore presence.
Not only is there a directional and content interest for the ear, but there is now more of an independence between the parts that requires the ear to engage in a sort of character play.
Upon hearing the following example for the kormmer time, it would likely take a couple interjections for the audience to realize the character roles.
By the time there is a comfortable expectation, Krommer reverses the clarinets’ roles, eliminating predictability like before, in order to keep an ever engaged ear. Listen to how Meyer and Bliss take on their respective roles. Especially successful within their performance is how the interjections are the slightest bit anticipated for a continued cohesive surprise: You will notice that aside from mentioning which was the first clarinet entrance, and the odd hint from markings within the score examples, there has been little to no mention of where exactly these clips are within the movement.
Partially it is because Krommer uses a good mix of his own techniques, and partially it is because I think the antiphonal effect is strongest when the listener has no expectation of the piece, and does not know what will come next.
With that in mind, I invite you to now listen to the entire third movement eyes closed if possible. Enjoy the ride of the antiphonal effect, that is only complimented by the delightful rhythms and harmonies of Krommer.
It is hard to imagine those on stage not enjoying themselves, which easily transmits into the audiences’ smile at the final cadence.
Concerto for 2 clarinets &… | Details | AllMusic
Click here for a full PDF of the third movement if you wish to see what you hear. Powered by Create your own unique website with customizable templates. A little about Franz Krommer Krommer is a Czechoslovakian composer who is most known for his ktommer instrument writing.