Clarinet Quintet

by Magnus Lindberg

Klarinettikvintetto, Kvintetto klarinetille ja jousikvartetille

Empty sheet

Magnus Lindberg

Clarinet Quintet

Music Finland

Description

When accepting to write a clarinet quintet I first felt scared of the classical ballast of such an ensemble.

With the quintets of Mozart and Brahms in mind I felt powerless to imagine any music for this constellation. This turned out to be an interesting paradox during the working process. The fact that the music couldn't be identified by combining unusual instruments together (all these "contemporary music ensemble" pieces) forced me to almost forget the ensemble when starting to write the piece.

This is of course not entirely true, because during many years I have been working a lot with the clarinet in collaboration with my very good friend Kari Kriikku; I tried some compositional ideas based on just a line for clarinet ornamented with the string instruments.

Another starting point was the influence of "Steamboat Bill Jr." a piece for clarinet and violoncello written some years earlier; I made some sketches for clarinet and violoncello "accompanied" by the 2 violins and the alto.

My favourite instrument is the orchestra, so I tried to imitate the "tutti" feeling of an orchestral texture scaled to the size of a clarinet quintet.

Despite of its rather extended duration (almost 20 minutes) the work is in one continuous movement. Sections are based on either a static material composed of different scales giving the music an "insect like" appereance, or on directional processes forcing the music to gradually change character or even physically pushing the music to extreme registers or speed.

The piece was commissioned by Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and will be first performed by Kari Kriikku and the Jean Sibelius Quartet in Kuhmo on July 16, 1992.

© Magnus Lindberg, Helsinki, July 1, 1992

(Chester Music Ltd.)

Composition of this quintet began and ended in Helsinki, but its development took place in Stockholm in May 1992. Commissioned by the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, in the east of Finland, Clarinet Quintet is the sixth piece written by Lindberg for the clarinettist Kari Kriikku. The starting point was Steamboat Bill Jr. for clarinet and cello: in the programme accompanying the first performance, Lindberg wrote that the first sketches were for clarinet and cello 'accompanied' by two violins and a viola. Confirming his preference for an orchestra, Lindberg tries to imitate the feeling of an orchestral tutti on the scale of a quintet with clarinet. For Lindberg: "Despite of its rather extended duration (almost 20 minutes) the work is in one continuous movement. Sections are based on either a static material composed of different scales giving the music an 'insect like' appereance, or on directional processes forcing the music to gradually change character or even physically pushing the music to extreme registers or speed."

© Risto Nieminen, 1993

translated (partly) by © Nick Le Quesne

© Ircam - Centre Georges-Pompidou, 1993

(From Magnus Lindberg, Helsinki 1996)

La composition de ce quintette fut commencée et terminée à Helsinki, mais c'est à Stockholm, en mai 1992, qu'il fut élaboré. Commandé par le Festival de musique de chambre à Kuhmo, à l'est de la Finlande, Clarinet Quintet est la sixième pièce écrite par Lindberg pour le clarinettiste Kari Kriikku. Le point de départ était Steamboat Bill Jr. pour clarinette et violoncelle : Lindberg écrit, dans la notice de programme à la création, que les premières esquisses étaient pour clarinette et violoncelle «accompagnés» par deux violons et alto. Affirmant sa prédilection pour l'orchestre, Lindberg essayait d'imiter le sentiment d'un tutti orchestral dans l'échelle du quintette avec clarinette. Pour Lindberg : «Bien qu'elle dure près de vingt minutes, la pièce est en un seul mouvement. Ses sections s'appuient soit sur un matériau statique, composé de gammes différentes, évoquant ainsi un bruissement d'insectes, soit sur des processus directionnels obligeant la musique à changer graduellement de caractère en la poussant vers des extrêmes de registres ou de vitesses.»

© Risto Nieminen, 1993

© Ircam - Centre Georges-Pompidou, 1993

(From Magnus Lindberg, Ircam 1993)


Instrumentation

cl, 2vln, vla, vlc


Category

Chamber Works


Premiere

Kari Kriikku, clarinet, Jean Sibelius Quartet, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, July 16, 1992.


Commisioned by / dedications

Commissioned by the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival.


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