Aria Bel Canto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble (2005)

Instrumentation:  clarinet and wind ensemble, reduction for piano available

Duration: 7:10

Commissioned by the Wichita State University Symphonic Band & Wind Ensemble

Premiered at the Kansas Music Education Association convention; February 2005

Recording: Music of the Heart from the Heartland, Wichita State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Mark Records, 9048 MCD. Used by permission

The work was commissioned to introduce WSU’s new assistant professor of clarinet, Suzanne Tirk, to the Kansas musical community. The piece is both lyrical and virtuosic, taking its name from the 19th-century bel canto (“beautiful singing”) style of opera composition. The form consists of an introduction, followed by a lyrical slow section and a concluding fast section. Over the course of the piece the clarinetist is required to perform many trills, fast scales, extreme leaps, and cadenza-like passages, much like a 19th-century opera diva.

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