Clarinet ensemble, chamber music and solo performances from the studio of Dr. Guy Yehuda, director of Woodwind Studies at the University of North Florida
Solos and Chamber Music
Tango Etude no. 3
Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet
Fugue for Clarinet Trio
Ancient Hungarian Dances from the 17th Century
I. Intrada - II. Lassu - III. Lapockas Tanc - IV. Ugros
ROSSINI / PALMER
An Italian in Algiers : Sinfonia
DEBUSSY / HOWLAND
Petite Suite : Ballet
MOZART / CAILLIET
The Marriage of Figaro : Overture
Program Notes by Ed Lein, Music Librarian
©2009, E. Lein
Argentine composer Ástor Piazzolla (1921-1992) pretty much single-handedly transformed his homeland's national dance, the tango, into a new style aptly called nuevo tango ("new tango"), by infusing the traditional dance form with characteristics of jazz, and incorporating contrapuntal techniques and formal elements adapted from his classical studies. It is estimated that Piazzolla composed over 3,000 pieces, and recorded about 500 of them himself! His six Études tanguistiques ("Tango Studies"), composed in 1987 are originally for flute, and have also become popular in a transcription for solo violin. The 3rd Étude is a florid virtuoso piece with quickly shifting textures that sometimes give the impression that more than one instrument is playing!
Russian-born Igor Stravinsky (1182-1971) is included among the Time 100, Time magazine's list of the most influential people of the 20th Century. Stravinsky shot to international fame with his early ballets, The Firebird (1910), and Petrushka (1911), and his revolutionary The Rite of Spring (1913) ushered in Modernism and forever changed the way composers regarded rhythmic structures. Stravinsky moved his family to Switzerland soon after The Firebird premiered in Paris and he developed an artistic partnership with Swiss philanthropist Werner Reinhart (1884-1951), who provided Stravinsky with financial backing for another revolutionary work, The Soldier's Tale (1918). Reinhart was himself an amateur clarinetist, and in gratitude Stravinsky composed for him the Three Pieces for Clarinet (1918, published 1919). The first movement, "always soft and very tranquil," is contemplative and exploits the instruments low register; the 2nd is written without barlines and is improvisatory in character; and the 3rd movement rather recalls the dance styles (i.e., Ragtime and Tango) used in The Soldier's Tale.
Only sparse information is available about Gregory A. Bueche (d.1977), but he was band director and became head of the Music Department at Colorado State University in the late 1930s, was elected to the American Bandmasters Association in 1949, and remained musically active at least into the 1960s. As one might expect, as a composer and arranger he apparently concentrated on works for band and band instruments, but his works also include Heritage for chorus with orchestra or organ, written for the 1964 Centennial Celebration in Fort Collins, Colorado. His Fugue was written to help fill the demand for chamber music for woodwind instruments, and may also be performed by 2 clarinets and bassoon.
Ferenc Farkas (1905-2000) was a leading Hungarian composer and teacher of the generation between Bartók and Ligeti, and the latter was one of his students. Farkas's studies included a stint with Respighi in Rome, and at the beginning of his career he wrote music for Scandinavian films before returning to Hungary to teach. He was a prolific composer with a catalog of over 700 compositions in a wide variety of styles and genres, including operas and many songs and choral works on texts in at least 15 different languages. His melodic writing typically is diatonic and often influenced by Hungarian folk music, but on occasion he also experimented with twelve-tone technique. Farkas's Ancient Hungarian Dances remain faithful to the tonal characteristics of the original 17th-century sources, and in addition to these arrangements for clarinets they are also frequently performed by wind quintet.
By 1829, when Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) retired after the premiere of his 39th opera, Guillaume Tell, he had become the most popular composer in the history of music for the stage, and his Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville, 1816) retains its place as one of the most frequently staged Italian operas. Many of his opera overtures likewise remain concert favorites, including the Sinfonia to the comic opera, L'italiana in Algeri (An Italian in Algiers, 1813), written when the composer was only 21. This arrangement for clarinet choir is by Harold G. Palmer, an American clarinetist, band director, and music educator who is often sited as a key figure in ushering in the "golden age" of the clarinet choir, beginning in the 1950s.
New Jersey native Arthur Frackenpohl (b. 1924), whose composition teachers included Darius Milhaud and Nadia Boulanger, has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants. From 1949 until his retirement in 1985, he was a member of the faculty at Crane School of Music at the State University of New York in Potsdam, and in addition to publishing over 250 instrumental and choral compositions and arrangements he authored a popular college textbook on piano harmonization. His chamber music for wind instruments are among his best-selling works.
Achille-Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was a quintessentially French composer, pianist and music critic whose own revolutionary music ushered in many of the stylistic changes of the 20th Century. Debussy is usually identified as the chief proponent of musical “impressionism,” but he did not approve of that label himself. The Ballet is the fourth and final movement of Debussy's Petite Suite (1889), originally for piano, 4-hands. This arrangement is by Russell Howland (1908-1995), who was a professor of woodwinds at the University of Michigan before moving to the state college in Fresno, California, in 1948, where he earned inclusion in the California Music Educators Association's Hall of Fame in 1975.
Austrian-born Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), unquestionably one of the greatest composers in history, began his career touring Europe as a 6-year-old piano prodigy, and he absorbed and mastered all the contemporary musical trends he was exposed to along the way. He wrote more than 600 works, including 22 operas and over three dozen symphonies, plus numerous concertos, chamber works, piano pieces, and choral works. Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro, 1786), is a cornerstone of the operatic repertoire, and its famous Overture is frequently performed as a stand-alone concert piece. Arranger Lucien Cailliet (1897-1985) was born in France but moved to the United States in 1918, and became a clarinetist and staff arranger for the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. Upon completing his doctoral studies in 1937, Cailliet (often misspelled "Caillet") joined the faculty of the University of Southern California for seven years, after which he devoted time to composing and arranging scores for nearly 50 films. Cailliet's arrangements of orchestral music for wind ensembles are highly regarded and frequently performed.