Soliloquy (from the Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra)




Adapted by the composer for clarinet and string quartet (1995)
Soloist(s) and orchestra



Soloist(s) and orchestra


solo clarinet and orchestra: 2 flutes and piccolo, 2 oboes (doubling english horn), bass clarinet, 2 bassoons and contrabassoon, 1 horn, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, harp, piano, and strings


9 minutes

commissioned by


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


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