Review: Ten Pieces for Clarinet and Keyboard

Ten Pieces for Clarinet and Keyboard.  St. Louis, MO: MorningStar Music Publishers, 2013

Parishes with talented clarinet and keyboard students will be delighted to discover this collection of accessible arrangements of familiar tunes by a variety of composers.

The keyboard parts are written so they can be played on either piano or organ, and are of intermediate or early advanced difficulty.   “Be Thou My Vision” (SLANE) arranged by Daniel S. Pinkston, with the clarinet stating the melody is accompanied by lush, parallel chords in outer sections and arpeggiated figures in the middle section.  “Joy to the World” (ANTIOCH) arranged by Robert Powell is a vivacious, light allegro with sixteenth note figurations in both keyboard and clarinet parts.  “Praise to the Lord” (LOBE DEN HERREN) arranged by Charles Callahan is “calm and serene,” a soft, lyric setting of this usually lively tune.  “The Lone, Wild Bird” (PROSPECT) arranged by Robert J. Powell respects the simplicity of the tune from Southern Harmony in its straight-forward yet well-crafted statement of melody in the clarinet and harmony in the keyboard.  “Adagio” is apparently a reprint from a previously published set of S. Drummond Wolff arrangements of Baroque music for instruments and keyboard, this particular tune from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  “Ayre” is likewise a reprint by Wolff, this time a simple setting of a tune by Georg Philipp Telemann.  “Shall We Gather at the River” (HANSON PLACE) is arranged by Charles Callahan in ABA form with the melody in the clarinet and key relationships D Major – B Flat Major – D Major.

Newly composed material for the introduction and transition back to D Major adds interest.  “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came” (GABRIEL’S MESSAGE) arranged by Robert J. Powell will likely be most effective on organ so that the simple, open texture and sharing of melody between clarinet and keyboard can best be realized using organ registration.   “All Creatures of Our God and King” (LASST UNS ERFREUEN) arranged by Robert Powell would make a lovely offertory.  “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (NETTLETON) arranged by Duane Funderburk is definitely for piano and clarinet.  Pianists will delight in the dance-like figurations that capture this early American tune at its best.  Figurations are mirrored in the clarinet part as well.  The clarinet parts are bound into the volume so they will not be lost, in addition to being printed above the keyboard parts in concert pitch.

Dr. Charlotte Kroeker, Executive Director, Church Music Institute

February, 2014