Airs and Arabesques
for solo clarinet
First performance: 29 October 2015, Peter Cigleris (clarinet), St George's Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK
Click here for complete performance by Peter Cigleris on YouTube
I have long been intrigued by the challenges of writing for a solo instrument without accompaniment where all the musical interest has to rest within a single line. In these five pieces for solo clarinet, I have generally avoided special effects or techniques and instead tried to exploit to the full the core qualities of the instrument. The five pieces are as contrasted in character as possible: the first is slow and rhapsodic, the second lively and rhythmic; the third is song-like while the fourth is more restless, employing constantly varying bar and phrase lengths. The final piece is a quasi-gigue which is based entirely on material already stated in the previous four.