Playing the clarinet is fun. This instrument has made many classical pieces. If you want to listen to the best clarinet song ever, think of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in a Major. Another incredible work is Sing, Sing; Sing played by Benny Goodman. Such musical pieces featured talented musicians in the 19th century. Of all instruments, the clarinet has the largest register. It’s also related to the oboe and flute but assumes the leading role. Due to the action playing style, there are many songs you can pick up pretty quickly.
Table of Contents
10 Best Clarinet Works in Existence
10. Copland: Clarinet Concerto
Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto was written between 1947 and 1949. He injected elements of humble string orchestra and jazz to accompany the solo clarinet. The piece opens with a snapshot of the Copland brand that soars over widely-spaced strings. Copland also gives way to a more rhythmic section of the piece. Since jazz collides with dense harmonies, you get a thrilling tension that continues through the brainstorming finale.
Many years later, the work remains a shining example of the best songs on clarinet. Copland uses characteristic idioms -from woodwind timbre to sparse chords. The Cadenza is also sandwiched between the two to create 17 minutes of continuous music.
Listen To Copland: Clarinet Concerto On Repeat
9. Mozart-Clarinet Concerto (1789)
You can’t discuss the best clarinet of all time without mentioning Clarinet Concerto. It dates back to October 1971 and features three movements done in a fast-slow-fast-session – Allegro, Adagio, and Rondo. The tune opens the chords of a small movement. Another distinct characteristic is that the tune takes you on a journey. Although it has a few performers, this remains a popular song among music lovers. Clarinet Concerto is one of the best songs in clarinet works that captures the sublime vocal quality.
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8. Brahms-Clarinet Trio 1891
The Trio was performed in 1891 and remains a major hit for Clarinet lovers. It features a combination of a cello, clarinet, and piano. Most folks love playing the piece, thanks to its unique combination of nifty virtuosity and sheer warmth. One thing you will learn is Braham’s ability to change the atmosphere. A single movement can be triumphant, but the next one is contemplative. In addition, the dark tones of the clarinet and cello balance well.
Braham’s trio also brought a wealth of moods, narratives, and developments. The inner movements glowed with delicate brightness and touched the soft spots. All these characteristics meld into supreme clarinet music. Just like Mozart, Brahms composed the Trio in the final years of his life.
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7. Heinrich Baermann-Adagio (1821)
The one Baermann piece that is widely celebrated is Adagio. Baermann was one of the most successful clarinets of all time. In 1821, he composed his last work, which remained a fresh piece for his concerts. Unlike other clarinet quintets, Adagio used beautiful slow movements.
For a long time, most folks didn’t know the story behind Adagio. Some thought it was the work of Richard Wagner. But in 1964, other musicians realized the unsigned manuscript. Unfortunately, those connected with the recording didn’t get the news many years later.
Adagio is the only copy associated with Baermann. Thankfully, the piece has been revised by many teachers. Baermann studied clarinet in Berlin and became famous in the first quarter of the 19th century. His work continues to inspire many upcoming artists.
Listen To Heinrich Baermann – Adagio (1821) On Repeat
6. Weber-Clarinet Concerto No. 2
Clarinet concerto dates back to 1813 and combines three performances – allegro, Romanze, and Alla Polazza. A typical performance lasts 23 minutes, depending on the tempo. This is the best song ever clarinet enthusiasts used to express their different feelings. Weber’s legacy is huge and has been included in many works.
The first movement begins with an exposition of the main theme. As the clarinet’s soloist enters a high F, there’s an octave jump. However, a majority of the first half sits comfortably in E-flat major. Then, the movement finishes with a virtuosic part that extends to a written A-flat.
The second movement focuses on the G-minor, which exhibits the rich tone of the clarinet. But after the initial section, the melody moves to the orchestral section of the G-major. Suddenly, the clarinet enters the E-flat, followed by numerous runs. In the E-flat major section, there are short notes that follow the operatic style.
The third movement is the clarinet repertoire. It features an E-flat major as the unique part of the soloist. Weber uses large leaps to embellish the clarinet melody. The melody is syncopated to bring a somewhat cheeky feel. Then, it finishes with a virtuosic passage made of scalic runs.
If you get the best of Clarinet No.2, you can jump straight to the second movement.
Listen To Weber – Clarinet Concerto No. 2 On Repeat
5. Leonard Bernstein-Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
Leonard Bernstein used intriguing melodies to create something unique – he was also proud of his achievements as a teacher. Sonata for Clarinet was first published in 1942. The 10-minute piece featured two consecutive movements. The first one opened with a musical line by Paul Hindemith, a composer at Tanglewood, in 1941. The second movement made predominant changes throughout the piece – with some syncopation and bass lines. Then, the mood of the first movement emerges in the third movement. Overall, Sonata mixes jazz, classical, and clarinet qualities to produce a gem.
At the time of the release, Leonard was 23 years old. His youthful work shows his enthusiasm for his accomplishments. The New York premiere took place a year later with Bernstein on the clarinet. In 1949, Bernstein returned to composing more music. Today, Sonata is now part of the standard repertoire for clarinet. If you can manage the pace, you’re in for a treat.
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4. Finzi-Clarinet Concerto
Clarinet Concerto is arguably the most remembered work of Gerald Finzi. It premiered in 1949 at the Three Choirs Festival. Finzi combines folk-inspired melody that interacts with imaginative writing. His style embraces elegiac lyricism, neo-baroque purity, and radiant joy. The finale of this clarinet song encompasses folk songs.
The first movement opens with searing intensity before the soloist enters with a wistful melody. As the music passes through the key centers, the fast outer sounds become beautiful. Finzi had his obdurate side – you can sense this in the concerto.
The second movement is pithy – this is the heart and soul of the concerto. The third movement, on the other hand, possesses a slumberous growth and choral work. After that, the oscillating music gives the hallmark of Finzi’s life. A Rondo completes the main theme of the clarinet. Of course, the aching echoes on the first movement are recorded towards the finale. Finzi concludes the concerto by displaying corporate virtuosity.
Sadly, Gerald died shortly after an illness.
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3. Poulenc-Sonata for Clarinet ET Piano (Clarinet Sonata)
Clarinet Sonata is among the last works of Francis Poulenc. The sonata has three movements – allegro, Romanza, and allegro con Fuocco. Since the structure differs from the traditional Sonata, the first movement was fast-slow-fast. It was also somewhat paradoxical. At one point, the clarinet leaps up and shifts to the harmonic background. The second movement is embroidered in a few places.
No doubt, Poulenc wrote the most delightful music of the 20th century. The third movement gives a strong consistency in neo-classical clarity and youthful vivacity. Generally, the third movement is E-natural.
While most of his works were dedicated to Arthur Honegger, Clarinet Sonata was his last work. Poulenc hoped to compose four clarinets but died after completing three. If you’re looking for a masterpiece to take you on an irresistible journey, Poulenc’s Clarinet Sonata is a sure bet.
Listen To Poulenc – Sonata for Clarinet ET Piano (Clarinet Sonata) On Repeat
2. Debussy-Premiere Rhapsodie
Premiere Rhapsodie is a piece composed in 1909 by Claude Debussy. He was commissioned to write for the final examination. However, he made a few changes for some serious magic.
This clarinet music was extraordinarily beautiful and showed perfection. Just like some of the above cases, Premiere Rhapsodie was composed towards the end of Debussy’s life. The piece was commissioned by Paris Conservatives in 1910.
The Premier Rhapsodie is the best clarinet song that gives seven-plus minutes. One unique thing you will appreciate about the clarinet masterpiece is the subtleties of the tone. Although originally it was thought to be a Rhapsodie, that never materialized. If you’re a clarinet, this piece can be a special addition to the repertoire.
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1. Arnold-Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano
The Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano was performed by Arnold David in 1951. This piece features three varied movements. The first one is somewhat aggressive and a bit violent. But the second movement stops everything altogether. Then, the furioso third takes control. Very few composers excel in clarinet tunes like Arnold.
This is another piece filled with incredible tenderness and beauty. The dense harmonies create a thrilling tension that continues to the finale. For those who would like to take their skills to the next level, Sonatina for Clarinet sits beautifully under the fingers.
Listen To Arnold – Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano On Repeat
We owe all Clarinetists a debt of gratitude for their amazing works in the 19th century. No doubt, the above brilliant pieces stand out among the favorites and deserve to be the audience staple of the future. Every work tells a lot of things about the instrument. New generation musicians can now discover and appreciate the versatility of clarinet sound. If you’re interested in listening to these clarinet works, try Listenonrepeat for free to build your own playlists of the clarinet with start/stop repeats.