PRELUDE AND VIVACE

Composed: 1996
Premiere: New Music Ensemble, Duquesne University, David Stock, conductor, Pittsburgh, April 11, 1996
Duration:  11 minutes
Instrumentation: Clarinet solo, 1(picc.)111; 1110; 2 perc., strings (2111) 

PROGRAM NOTES

  I.  Prelude
  II.  Vivace Ritmico

 Prelude and Vivace is a chamber version of the Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra which was composed in 1994 for Richard Stoltzman.  In the Prelude, the solo clarinet floats above or below, or winds around and through orchestral sonorities that are sometimes warm, singing and sparkling, and sometimes languid, hazy clouds of sound.  An ascending motif begins in the clarinet and occurs frequently throughout, drifting upward at the final cadence.

The Peace and tranquility of the Prelude changes drastically when all caution lets loose in the light-hearted, exuberant and quite raucous Vivace Ritmico. Elements of jazz and the mood of a lively party combine with repetitive rhythmic patterns, changing meters, playful exchanges and comic sounds.  A traditional cadenza for the clarinet culminates with a short exchange between the clarinet and a siren in the percussion before the movement rushes forward to a conclusion. 

REVIEWS

       Brouwer’s musical wit, sense are in full play  "Good for Margaret Brouwer. The new head of the composition department at the Cleveland Institute of Music didn't have an easy job succeeding dynamic Donald Erb last fall. But Brouwer has brought bountiful energy and imagination to her duties. She is also a composer who deserves attention. Brouwer’s "Prelude and Vivace," for clarinet and chamber ensemble, was the gale of fresh air on the Cleveland Institute of Music Contemporary Ensemble’s program Wednesday at Kulas Hall. Brouwer’s piece came to life in 1994 as the concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra which was written for Richard Stoltzman. The new version reduces the orchestration to chamber-music proportions but removes none of its haunting, cheeky personality. The two movements abound in radiant conversations between protagonist and friends. As the soloist traverses the extremes of the clarinet, the ensemble contributes scintillating sounds, including whistles and sirens.

       The second movement is a tour de force of jazzy and infectious rhythmic devices: The soloist even toots whimsically on his mouthpiece. (sans instrument) Brouwer’s wit and crystalline musical sense had a hero in clarinetist Daniel Silver, a Cleveland native active in the Baltimore area. Silver made nimble work of the solo part, swooping from top to bottom and evincing a keen command of clarinet possibilities. The ensemble, led by Timothy Weiss, exuded colorful allure."  -Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland: The Plain Dealer, April 25, 1997