This week’s Listening Assignment will be listening to music written for piano and one other instrument. The first is a piece written by Mozart, a Clarinet Concerto in A Major, with the piano playing what is called an Orchestra Reduction, that is the orchestra part has been re-written so that the piano plays all of the orchestra parts. It isn’t the same sound as an orchestra, but a well-written reduction can provide a very satisfying musical experience for someone who wants to play a concerto but doesn’t have an orchestra ready to play along with them. This piece shows the delightful “conversation” between the clarinet and the piano with sometimes the clarinet taking the lead and other times the piano. The precision of these two performers is impressive and their ensemble playing is so good it almost sounds like one instrument at times. Playing together like this takes a lot of listening to the other person and anticipating their part, similar to what you have to do when playing piano 4-hand music.
The next selection is a Violin and Piano Sonata written by the French Romantic composer, Camille Saint-Saens. The excerpt chosen is the third and fourth movements of this Sonata and shows the intricate and high-stakes writing demanding incredible accuracy and no slip-ups as the two parts as so intertwined. It is a white-knuckle ride as it has both instruments playing at the extreme speed of their instruments but is so exciting and impressive to hear. Happy Listening!
Mozart Clarinet Concerto
Saint-Saens Violin and Piano Sonata