Works Solo Instrument(s) & Orchestra Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (1942)

Overview

The Sonata for Clarinet and Piano was Bernstein’s first published composition. This work reflects the youthful enthusiasm of the time: walking basses, pervasive syncopations and melodic flourishes make this a fun and exciting work. At clarinetist Richard Stoltzman’s suggestion, Bernstein’s long-time orchestrator Sid Ramin has produced a lean and spare orchestration for strings and percussion.

Bernstein wrote in a letter to Aaron Copland (15 W. 52, New York) in the Spring of 1943:

"The little Hargail Music Co. wanted to publish the Clarinet Sonata. Out of professional courtesy I showed it first to Warner’s, and they knocked me over by loving it, and insisting on publishing it. I was downhearted, since Hargail wanted to make a commercial recording of it. Now Hargail is offering me all sorts of fantastic royalty rates if I’ll give it to them, and says that they will make the recording anyway! A labor of love, if I ever heard one. But Warner’s points out that they, as a large firm...can do so much more for it than can a little thing like Hargail...Matters are now suspended by a hair.

Warner’s presented me with a five-year contract! I’m taking it to a lawyer today to find out what it says. It looks like my life that I’m signing away. But it adds to my little old salary a substantial weekly advance on future mythical royalties, which increases each year."

Related Works
Piano Sonata
Piano Trio

Details

(1942) 10 min
World Premiere:
April 21, 1942. Institute of Modern Art, Boston, MA, United States | David Glazer, clarinet / Leonard Bernstein, piano
(1942, arr. 1994) 11 min
World Premiere:
July 23, 1994. Sapporo, Japan | Richard Stoltzman, clarinet / Pacific Music Festival Orchestra / Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
Scoring
Solo clarinet-perc(1)-piano-strings
Version Notes
arranged for clarinet and orchestra by Sid Ramin

Purchasing Licensing Information

To perform Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, please contact Boosey & Hawkes. For general licensing inquiries, please click here.

To purchase sheet music for Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, please visit our store.

Media

Cover of the Manuscript of Bernstein's Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
Library of Congress Library of Congress