in 2016, as I completed for on the first volume of my text Band Orchestration, my friend Joe Clark asked me to write a piece for the Contra-Alto Clarinet, as he was preparing to do what may be the first ever recital solely dedicated to that instrument. I was happy to oblige this request as I love writing for these obscure woodwinds. This work represents a huge new addition to the small amout of literature for the Contra-Alto Clarinet.
As both a composer and a performer, the low woodwinds have always held a special place for me. They are the true heart and soul of a wind band. Sadly, many of these tall trees are endangered species. My “Three Songs for Contra-Alto Clarinet and Piano” is, I hope, a major addition to the repertoire for that instrument. Each song shows off the wonderfully lyrical quality of the instrument. The first, Adagio Mysterioso, is like a giant fairy coming to life. Here, the sonorous tones of the contra-alto clarinet mix with the high tinkles of the piano’s right hand alone in a graceful duet. The second song, Romance, is much more full-bodied. Perhaps it is the romance of unrequited love? The final song, Realms Beyond the Mist, is dark and brooding. Through the clouds and fog we see a glimpse of yet another world.