Title Three Fantasy Pieces (2015) by John Carbon
Instrumentation Bass Clarinet & Piano
Range Extended range instrument required for bass clarinet part
Price $28
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About the Work

Performance Notes courtesy of the composer:

Three Fantasy Pieces for bass clarinet and piano was composed in 2015 for clarinetist Doris Hall-Gulati and pianist Steven Graff. These three pieces are études that explore mood and character as much as technical bravura. The first and third pieces, Night Piece and Rango, require the performers to move in and out of episodes of ironic expression. The virtuosity required of the performers has much to do with their ability to convey shifting nuances of emotional meaning. Night Piece contains melodrama and tragedy with dark undertones that are sometimes deadly serious and at other times playful and twisted. The numerous mood and character indications in the score are provided to suggest changes of tone, but they should not totally determine the narrative quality of the perfomers' interpretation. Night Piece is "rhapsodic and darkly mysterious." In this piece the boundaries between drama and ironic melodrama are explored. Rango, a blend of tango and ragtime elements, requires the performers to evoke a twisted spookiness. The middle piece, Aria, is a sustained lyrical exploration of "restrained sensuality," in which neo-Baroque elements are used to convey a polite but erotic courtship.


About the Composer

Born in 1951, composer John Carbon's eclectic musical background accounts for the wide variety of styles that he now embraces in his work. During his high school years he played and wrote for a rock band, but he also performed standard classical repertoire as a pianist and clarinetist, composing orchestral works that were influenced by Stravinsky and Prokofiev. His father played jazz saxophone, and some of Carbon's works, notably his Clarinet Concerto (1993), written for Richard Stoltzman and the Warsaw Philharmonic, incorporate bluesy harmonies and rhythms.

Recently, an ever-more lyrical and tonal tendency can be heard in John Carbon's music, along with an increased interest in contrapuntal textures. His music is rhythmically propulsive, sometimes as a result of the introduction of vernacular styles such as ragtime and tango. Most of his later work is aligned with his own unique version of "the new tonality," but at the same time his music falls firmly in the post-modern camp, meaning that he fuses different styles from past eras with the present to create his own highly accessible and distinctive voice.

Much of John Carbon's orchestral music, including the concerti for clarinet, piano, trumpet and double bass, has been recorded by the Warsaw Philharmonic, Slovak Radio Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, New York Chamber Symphony, Concordia and the Seattle Symphony. Conductors who have performed and recorded his music include Gerard Schwarz, George Manahan, and Maron Alsop. Performances have included premieres in Boston's Symphony Hall, New York's Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, Merkin and Carnegie Halls, Smetena Hall in Prague, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and the Wuhan Conservatory in China.

Recordings of John Carbon's music can be found on the Naxos, Delos, MMC, CGS, Moonbridge, Emeritus, VMM and Zimbel labels. His primary publisher is JCcollections, and scores can be purchased from Sheetmusicplus, J. W. Pepper, Wehr's Music House, Alea Publishing and Lulu. He is presently the Richard S. and Ann B. Barshinger Professor of Music at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


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Catalog Info #ALEA1172
Piano score: 45 pages, spiral bound
Bass Clarinet part: 12 pages, staple bound