Audio streaming of entire work available on SoundCloud.
In the winter of 2002, while we were both at a conference in Savannah, Georgia, clarinetist Leslie Nicholas asked me if I knew of any music written for clarinet quintet that featured a solo part with the other four members providing accompaniment. He was looking for such a work for an upcoming performance he had with the United States Naval Academy Clarinet Quartet. It soon became evident that such a piece either did not exist or between the two of us, we could not think of one. “Why don’t you just write one?” asked Les. At first, I declined the request due to a heavy writing schedule. However, the challenge occupied my thoughts for the rest of the evening and after a restless night, I agreed to write the piece.
The result of this conversation in Savannah, Play THAT!, is a virtuoso work for a solo clarinet and a group of four other clarinetists. At first, it is the solo clarinet that sets the musical agenda and the quartet that follows. However, as the piece progresses, the quartet reveals itself to have much more than an accompanying role, challenging the soloist to keep up. This give and take between the soloist and quartet continues throughout the work. Despite a traditional A-B-A formal scheme, this brief piece also calls for a rather unusual collection of clarinets. The solo part is written for a Clarinet in C and the quartet written for Clarinet in Eb, Clarinet in A, the relatively rare Basset Horn and a Bass Clarinet using an extended lower range. The common Bb Clarinet is not found among the group!
This piece was completed in April of 2002 and dedicated to Leslie Nicholas, former Coordinator of Woodwinds at the Georgia State University School of Music and the United States Naval Academy Clarinet Quartet.