Ian Venables’s Canzonetta for Clarinet and String Quartet, commissioned jointly by Bromsgrove Concerts and Droitwich Concert Club, will be given its world premiere performance tomorrow evening by Timothy Orpen and the Cavaleri Quartet.
“As the commission was for a short chamber work, I suggested a one-movement piece for clarinet and string quartet. I’ve always loved the clarinet, and I’d made use of it in my song cycle, On the wings of love.
“The idea of composing an abstract work for this combination of instruments really appealed to me. In our discussions about what kind of work I would write the question of what would go on the rest of the programme was raised. Both the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets were mentioned.
“So before I started work on the clarinet quintet, I did of course, do my homework! And yes, I did study the Brahms closely. I also had a look at the Arthur Bliss quintet. There is always so much to learn from the masters and this medium has always been considered to be a difficult one chiefly because of issues to do with balance and integrating the clarinet with strings, which can be tricky. After looking at the Brahms and Mozart quintets I also decided to follow their lead and use the clarinet tuned in A.”
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Ian Venables’ Canzonetta is performed by Timothy Orpen (clarinet) and the Cavaleri String Quartet at the Artrix, Bromsgrove on Friday, with the Mozart Clarinet Quintet concluding (8pm, details on 01527 577330), and at Droitwich Methodist Church on Saturday with the Brahms Clarinet Quintet concluding (7.30pm, details on 01905 779736).