The Four Pieces for Clarinet and Pianoop. 5 were written exactly 100 years ago. They are dedicated to the Society for Private Musical Performances in Vienna, where they were premiered on 17 October 1919, as well as to its founder and president, Arnold Schönberg. Klaus Simon has arranged these short, attractive pieces for ensemble or chamber orchestra, where the string parts can be played as either a solo or with the whole section.
Klaus Simon on the Four Pieces:
I first accompanied clarinettist Julien Laffaire of the Holst Sinfonietta in Berg’s Op. 5 Clarinet Pieces at a recital in early 2012; I was inspired at once to arrange them at some time for ensemble. Berg’s piano part seemed very orchestral to me (as with his Piano Sonata Op. 1) as it painted tone colours reaching beyond the pianistic.
My inspiration became reality in the autumn of that same year. In my work, it was important to me to dispense with the piano in the ensemble – deliberately, to avoid the risk of “sticking too closely” to the original. Instead, I integrated the harp and percussion into the obligatory mix of wind, brass and strings, knowing very well how important the percussion is for Berg’s orchestral sound (just think of the opening of the Op. 6 Pieces for Orchestra).
Orchestration is always a balancing act between respect for the original and one’s own ideas about the sound, and Berg’s four miniatures are excellent sources of inspiration. The sonic world of Wozzeck and the Op. 6 Orchestra Pieces influenced my instrumentation.
It is my hope that this version for ensemble will become a rewarding piece for clarinet and instrumental group, or even chamber orchestra with ripieno strings (max. 6-6-4-3-2).