Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/375

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CLARINET.
363
 

soul awaits.' But it is with Mozart that the instrument first becomes a leading orchestral voice. 'Ah, if we had but clarinets too!' says he: 'you cannot imagine the splendid effect of a symphony with flutes, oboes, and clarinets.' (Letter 119.) Nothing can be more beautiful, or more admirably adapted to its tone than the parts provided for it in his vocal and instrumental works. The symphony in E♭ is sometimes called the Clarinet Symphony from this reason, the oboes being omitted as if to ensure its prominence. There is a concerto for clarinet with full orchestra (Köchel, No. 622) which is in his best style. For the tenor clarinet or basset-horn, the opera of 'Clemenza di Tito' is freely scored, and an elaborate obbligato is allotted to it in the song 'Non più di fiori.' His 'Requiem' contains two corni di bassetto, to the exclusion of all other reed-instruments, except bassoons. His chamber and concerted music is more full for clarinets than that of any other writer, except perhaps Weber. It is somewhat remarkable that many of his great works, especially the ' Jupiter' Symphony, should be without parts for the instrument, notwithstanding his obvious knowledge of its value and beauty. The ordinary explanation is probably the true one; namely, that being attached to a small court, he seldom had at his disposal a full band of instrumentalists. Beethoven, on the other hand, hardly writes a single work without clarinets. Indeed there is a distinct development of this part to be observed in the course of his symphonies. The trio of the First contains a passage of importance, but of such simplicity that it might be allotted to the trumpet. The Larghetto (in A) of his Second Symphony is full of melodious and easy passages for two clarinets. It is not until we reach the 'Pastoral' Symphony that difficulties occur; the passage near the close of the first movement being singularly trying to the player:—

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 6/8 \key g \major \partial 4 \relative d'' { d8( e16 d) | c8 f a c a f | g g, a b c b | a a b c d c_"etc." } }

But the Eighth Symphony contains a passage in the Trio, combined with the horns, which few performers can execute with absolute correctness.

{ \time 3/4 \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \key g \major \relative d'' { r4 r8 d e fis | g \times 2/3 { a16\( g fis } g8 a b\) b-. | b4.( a8 g fis) | fis g16( fis e8 fis) \times 2/3 { a8 g fis } | e( d) d-. r r4 | r1*3/4 | r8 | a'-.( g-. cis-. d4) | r1*3/4 | r8 a-. g-. cis-. d4-| | r8 f,-| g-| a-| bes4-| | r1*3/4 | r | r8 d, fis a d c | b\( \times 2/3 { c16 b a } b8 c d\) d-| | d( dis e e, d' c) | b( d g) b,( d fis,) | g4 r r_"etc." } }

Beethoven does not seem to have appreciated the lower register of this instrument. All his writings lie in the upper part of its scale, and, except an occasional bit of pure accompaniment, there is nothing out of the compass of the violin.

Mendelssohn, on the other hand, seems to revel in the chalumeau notes. He leads off the Scotch Symphony, the introductory notes of 'Elijah,' and the grand chords of his overture to 'Ruy Blas' with these, and appears fully aware of the singular power and resonance which enables them to balance even the trombones. Throughout his works the parts for clarinet are fascinating, and generally not difficult. The lovely second subject in the overture to the 'Hebrides' (after the reprise)—

{ \time 4/4 \key f \major \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \relative a' { r4\pp a( fis8 a d e | fis4) fis( b fis) | fis( g) r e8( fis) | g4( d) r e8( fis) | g4 d b8( d g a) | b4 b d2 ~ | d4 b g d | b d b' g | fis2 e4_"etc." } }

the imitative passage for two clarinets, which recurs several times in the Overture to 'Melusina'—

{ \time 6/4 \key g \major \partial 4 \relative d' { d4 | g8 d b d g a b g d g b c | d2. ~ d \bar "||" } } ; and the rolling wavelike passages in his 'Meeresstille,' deserve special mention. On the other hand, there are occasional phrases of great complexity in his works. The scherzo of the Scotch Symphony, the saltarello of the Italian, are cases in point; but even these are exceeded by a few notes in the scherzo of the 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' which are all but unplayable.

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 3/8 \relative b' { r16 b-. a-. c-. b-. gis-. | fis-. a-. gis-. d-. dis-. fis-. | e-. r r8 r \bar "||" } }


Weber appears to have had a peculiar love for the clarinet. Not only has he written several great works especially for it, but his orchestral compositions abound in figures of extreme beauty and novelty. The weird effect of the low notes in the overture to 'Der Freischütz,' followed by the passionate recitative which comes later in the same work—both of which recur in the opera itself—will suggest themselves to all; as will the cantabile phrase in the overture to 'Oberon,' the doubling of the low notes with the violoncellos, and the difficult arpeggios for flutes and clarinets commonly known as the 'drops of water.' His Mass in G is marked throughout by a very unusual employment of the clarinets on their lower notes, forming minor chords with the bassoons. This work is also singular in being written for B♭ clarinets, although in a sharp key. The 'Credo,' however, has a characteristic melody in a congenial key, where a bold leap of two octaves exhibits to advantage the large compass at the composer's disposal.

Meyerbeer and Spohr both employ the clarinets extensively. The former, however, owing to his friendship with Sax, was led to substitute the