Aria of the Evening Sky (1995)

Instrumentation: clarinet and piano

Duration: 11:00

Commissioned by and dedicated to W. James Jones, Wichita State University Professor of Clarinet

Premiered at the International Clarinet Society Clarinet Fest ’95; Arizona State University; Tempe, Arizona; July 14, 1995.

Recording: Karen Dannessa, clarinet; Lynne Garrett, piano in recital at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California – March 2001. Used by permission

As the title suggests, the work is in a simple song (ABA) form: the outer sections are lyrical and expressive in nature, the middle section more assertive. All registers of the clarinet are utilized for their unique timbral quality. The beautiful, singing character of the instrument predominates in the outer sections of the piece; the faster central section shows off its technical capabilities. Aria begins with a long, wistful clarinet solo, which is straightforwardly in the Aeolian mode. As the piano enters with its florid figuration, the harmonic color changes to whole-tone and octatonic (diminished) scale constructions. At the end of the piece, the piano plays the clarinet solo material, accompanied by a clarinet counter-melody.

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