Along with the piano, the clarinet is my favorite instrument of all. I have been captivated by the clarinet’s beautiful deep mellow, soulful sound. The clarinet is similar to my other favorite instrument, the piano, with its wide tone range [low notes to high notes] and its dynamics [the volume of sound] it can make.
From the Clarinets.net web site we learn that the clarinet’s tone range is wider than that of all other wind instruments. Also, “The clarinet’s dynamic (loudness) ranges from [very, very soft] ppp to [very, very loud] fff (only brass and saxophones can play louder). Other woodwinds usually will have serious difficulties beginning a phrase in ppp, not so the clarinet”.
“Both in sound and playing techniques the clarinet is one of the most flexible instruments at all. It displays many characteristics you find in the human voice. It shows quite different sounds in the different registers – (high, medium, low) more characteristic than any other wind instrument. You can play virtually all forms of articulation with a clarinet – extremely short staccato, a perfect legato (binding of notes), vibrato when it is needed, even a glissando (that is changing the pitch from one tone to another without having to interrupt).”
A famous example of glissando played by the clarinet is the opening of George Gershwin’s popular “Rhapsody In Blue”:
There are two pieces, when I first heard them, that made me add the clarinet, along with the piano, as my favorite instruments. Both of those pieces are by the quintessential classical composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto in A-Major” and his “Quintet in A-Major for Clarinet and Strings”. Mozart was a master at bringing out the beautiful sound of the clarinet.
When you hear this final movement of the Mozart clarinet concerto [from MozartClarinet on You Tube] you can hear from the beautiful playing by virtuoso clarinetist, Martin Frost, both the wide tone range [low to high notes] of the clarinet and the wide dynamic range [soft/loud] throughout this concerto.
W.A. Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A-Major, Movement 3, Rondo Allegro:
Now listen to Mozart’s wonderful Clarinet Quintet, my second favorite clarinet piece, and I think you will appreciate why when I heard these two pieces, I fell in love with the clarinet. This quintet is scored in A Major with 4 movements: 1. Allegro, 2. Larghetto, 3. Minuet-Trio, and 4. Allegretto with variations. Please turn up the volume and enjoy!
W.A. Mozart: Clarinet Quintet in A-Major:
Now here is a delightful, pleasant Clarinet Concerto from Carl Stamitz. Turn up the volume and listen to this playful rondo Movement 3 from his Clarinet Concerto #7.
Carl Stamitz: Clarinet Concerto #7 in B-flat Major, Movement 3, Rondo:
Finally here is piece that brings out the beauty of the clarinet, from the melodic Italian composer, Gioachino Rossini: his introduction, theme and variations for clarinet and orchestra. Please turn up the volume and enjoy this great virtuosic piece for clarinet performed by Han Kim.
G. Rossini: Introduction, theme and variations for clarinet and orchestra:
I hope you enjoyed some sweet sounding music of the clarinet!