The EMC Clarinet Guide

Just because you play the best instrument in the world, have Chris Hobbs’ Why Not? on us.  For information, go to freebies.

Remember the old sheet music which included a page from another piece so that you could see what it was like?  We’re putting together pdf samples from other pieces so that you can see what you’re buying.  First, a page from Chris Hobbs’ 6 Preludes and 5 Chorales.  This page is from the score and includes one system of a Chorale and a few systems from the hardest Prelude.  From this excerpt, for instance, you may note that the bass clarinet is an equal partner, and not just along for the ride!  Find out if this music is right for your group – just ask us at questions** (for ** substitute @and we’ll send you this sample.  If you like it, you can purchase the full score and parts, in beautiful purple EMC livery, for £6.50.

If this piques your interest, other clarinet pieces by EMC composers include the following.  Some of them are published by the EMC; those that aren’t can be obtained by getting in touch with us and we’ll put you through.  Don’t see what you want – say, you’ve got that alto or bassett raring to go and nothing to play?  Want a duo for you and your mate who plays oud?  Well, contact us!  We’ll ask around and see if someone can arrange something or if they can write something bespoke for you.  It’s a lot cheaper than you’d think!

Michael Parsons:

  • Arctic Instrumental Music (1987) for two Eb clt. (or clt.), 2 vla. (or vln. + vla), marimba, piano.  This version was written for the Hartzell Hilton Band, a rather cool group made up of Forward Music and EMC players which existed in London in the 1980s.  Written in a kind of almost icy minimalism (Arctic pun intended!), the most striking part for most listeners is the melody as it first appears, played in octaves by the little Eb clarinets.
  • Two Macedonian Songs (1989) arranged for clarinet and percussion (also flute and percussion) published by Forward Music.  Not a bit of faux exotica, these pieces sound like the real thing, so work up a good Mediterranean tone for these pieces.  One, ‘Kulcinata’, works really well on Eb clarinet.

Hugh Shrapnel:

  • Two Pieces (1984) for clarinet and piano published by Forward Music.  The first piece is slow, the second one fast.  Good show pieces for recitals.  If you like playing quintuplets, the second piece is for you.

Dave Smith:

  • Mitchell Principles and Laws on Central Albania (2000) for 2 clarinets.  This one you can find in the EMC Instrumental Catalogue.  Stylistically, Dave’s influences include pop, jazz, Latin, Eastern European, 19th C. piano giants and Hans Eisler, although not all in each piece.

Christopher Hobbs:

  • Swiftly to Virginia (1981/91) for Eb cl and pno.  Another piece available in the Catalogue.  This is Chris Hobbs’ first piece for Virginia Anderson, written for her university recital and sent not swiftly enough, because it came three days before and was too tough to rehearse in time.  It starts with flashy conservatoire runs, goes into a laid-back, smoky jazz section, then into another flash, jazzy show-stopper.  Think you’re hard enough to play the little instrument?  Well, this is the place to start.
  • Rites of Passage (1982) for cl, pno/tam-tam.  Hobbs’ piece for Phillip Rehfeldt, so there are special effects, including a multiphonic chorale.  This piece includes Hobbs’ nod to the unwritten Sherlock Holmes story, ‘The Giant Rat of Sumatra’, actually a great noisy passage for altissimo clarinet and tam-tam.  Great virtuoso piece.
  • Tokyo Games (1991) for cl, elec kb.  The title comes from the World Athletics tournament of 1991.  An occasional piece.
  • Fanfares (1987) for 2 Eb cl published by Forward Music.  Three little Eb clarinet pieces.  Harder than they look, but great fun.
  • 17 One-Minute Pieces for Bass Clarinet and Casio MT750 (1992).  Recorded by Ian Mitchell on …the edge of the world, these pieces are enormous fun, including a couple of detective tunes (‘Down these mean streets a man must go’), a solo for telephone noises, some Gothic heaviness and a wicked minimalist pastiche.  The problem is getting hold of this obsolete instrument (the Casio MT750, of course, not the bass clarinet!), but ask nicely and Chris may be able to find a solution.  Like Why Not?, for bass that goes down to C.
  • Scherzo and Lyric (1991/95) for Eb cl, pno.  More Eb pieces.  Scherzo is slightly demonic, Lyric a recitative.  Easier than Swiftly.  Currently, Chris doesn’t have this in circulation, but we keep it in this list for sake of completion.  You never know, it may fall back in favour some day.
  • 6 Preludes and 5 Chorales (1975) for 3 cl, b. cl.  The closest you’ll get to the delights of the Promenade Theatre Orchestra without learning reed organs and toy pianos.  The the traditional-sounding Chorales are systemic, in that each Chorale is numerically or positionally a transformation of the previous one.  Rather than sounding all bleep-bloop serial, these pieces exhibit a rather friendly exterior to the ear.  Bass clarinet part okay for those which go to Eb.  For a sample from this piece, see our offer, above.  You can buy this piece: see our Instrumental Catalogue.
  • Recitative (1979) for b. cl, vibes, cel, perc.  This piece is gorgeous, peaceful.  The vibes, celesta, and percussion provide a motoric backdrop which is kind of a cross between a slow gamelan and a musical box, while the bass player emotes all over the place.  Great crowd pleaser if you have access to the instruments.  Works for bass down to Eb.
  • Four Studies in Shadow (1984) for b. fl, b. cl, bsn.  Hang around with bass friends?  This is a tough ensemble, written for a university faculty group,.  Well worth working into a repertoire if you have the forces.  Bass cl. goes down to Eb.
  • And others….

Contact the EMC (questions** – for **, substitute @) for information on how to get these pieces. Or, if you don’t see what you want here, get in touch.  There might be something which these composers might be willing to adapt or update to your requirements, or you might consider commissioning a purpose-written piece: it never costs to ask!