SONATA for Clarinet and Piano (1942)
Ernst von Dohnanyi
SERENADE in C Major for String Trio, Op. 10
Erling Patrick Horn
BLACK TANGO for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano (2002)
QUARTET in E-Flat Major for Violin, Viola Cello and Piano, Op. 47
Leonard Bernstein composed his Sonata for Clarinet and Piano between 1941 and 1942, and the piece has the distinction of being his first published work. Dedicated to the internationally renowned clarinetist and television producer David Oppenheim, the work is in two movements (though the andantino tempo beginning the second movement suggests a three-movement structure as it gives way to a faster vivace a leggiero). The graceful mysticism of the opening movement contrasts with the syncopated and changing rhythms of the finale, a prelude to the expression of Bernstein's later masterpiece West Side Story.
Ernst von Dohnanyi was a composer who, with the Serenade in C Major for String Trio, wished to look back upon the elegance of past centuries. Completed the year Dvorak passed away, this delightful trio features a brisk yet exotic March, a highly expressive Romance, a contrapuntally inspired Scherzo, a lyrical Theme and Variations and a delightful Rondo. An equally delightful return of the opening moment concludes this wonderful example of late Romantic Era chamber music.
Robert Schumann's Piano Quartet in E-flat Major for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano, Op. 47, has often been referred to as the "creative double" of the piano quintet, with an abundance of highly emotional outpourings in both works. The impassioned opening movement displays Schumann at his turbulent best, while the scherzo and finale are breathtaking in their intensity. The third movement, Andante cantabile, features the cello and sings of Schumann's love for the instrument.
Composer Erling Patrick Horn writes, "I became interested in the tango in the mid-1990s because it fused two styles of music: classical and popular. This music injected a new energy and freshness into melody and rhythm. Black Tango, composed in 2002, is perhaps inspired by [Astor] Piazzolla more than any of my tangos. Many of the rhythms and effects in this piece I owe to listening to recordings of his live performances. I chose the title Black Tango partly because of the predominance of minor keys and chords. Also the economic situation in Argentina (where the tango was born) at the time was bad and getting worse. The overall character of my Black Tango reflects the dark times that Argentines have had to live with."