Duet for Clarinet and Bassoon

Released on March 20, 2018

for clarinet and bassoon


This piece was inspired by and is dedicated to a wonderful bassoonist and friend, Kathy Staller.

Most of it was written in 2016. I liked what I had, but was never able to satisfactorily complete it. I returned to it a few times without making any progress until recently, when I finished it in just a few days of work.

The piece is built on two themes, each with its own time signature and key. The first has a classical sound; the second is jazzier. The themes alternate throughout the piece. Near the end, the themes drift a bit out of their assigned keys and time signatures as the music reaches its conclusion.

In this piece, I wanted the clarinet and bassoon parts to be equal, each taking turns leading and accompanying.Writing a duet for two wind instruments is harder than other duet combinations. Wind instruments are generally restricted to playing one note at a time and, with just two instruments, chords are impossible. The performers also need to breathe from time to time, unlike a string or keyboard player. The challenge for the composer is to create music that sounds free of these technical limitations.