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Soliloquy (from the Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, 1977)
Adapted by the composer for clarinet and string quartet (1995)

see also: Soliloquy for Clarinet and Orchestra, and Soliloquy for Clarinet and String Quartet


Commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, 1995 First performed July 13, 1995, by David Shifrin, clarinet, with members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Portland, OR


Listen to a sound clip

rent score and parts from G. Schirmer Inc 


Duration  9 minutes



David Shifrin, clarinet, with members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Delos DE 3183 (1998)


Program note

Soliloquy was written in memory of my father, who died on September 1, 1975. He had been a concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for 23 years, and I still find it hard to think of that orchestra without him sitting in the first chair. So the idea of an extended dialogue for clarinet and violin seemed not only natural but inevitable.

The Soliloquy begins with a long, unaccompanied line for the violin. The other strings enter, and a mood of sustained lyricism introduces the clarinet. The prevailing feeling is that of desolation. I deliberately avoided an emotional climax in the Soliloquy, feeling that sustaining the same mood throughout the music would achieve a heightened intensity.

Structurally, this movement alternates two melodic ideas. The first is introduced by the violin (in B), while the second (in B-flat) is represented by the clarinet. A three-note motto (C-sharp, B, B-flat) grows from the alternation of the two tonalities and provides a third major element. The movement ends as it began, with the same long violin line, this time joined by the clarinet.

                     — John Corigliano

© 2021 John Corigliano | Designed by Wlad Marhulets | Artwork photos by Richard Howe