top of page

Op. 16 - Three Conversations

for Clarinet in B-Flat and Bass Clarinet


Program Notes: The composition of my Three Conversations for Two Clarinets, B-Flat & Bass, respectively, began in 2009 and has continued through 2013 with regular revisions and refinements. The arrangement for Violin & Cello was completed in 2010 and has also undergone much development. The Three Conversations were initially conceived as pseudo-Invention style pieces whose imitative and ‘call and response’ style of composition suggested, to me, a sort of conversation amongst the two voices. This idea developed and transformed into real life conversational scenarios. The first movement, Argumentatively, is an agitated, unstable and dissonant web of contrapuntal techniques built on tri-tones. The angular and chromatic riffs are constantly falling on top of one another with very little repose, pushing each instrument to the extremes of their range. Concurringly, the second movement, is a momentary reprieve from the intensity of the preceding conversation. It begins with a mournful basso ostinato that creates a more cooperative dialogue amongst the two clarinets and builds a foundation upon which they can ‘concur’ with one another, though not without their moments of contention. Colloquy, or simply a dialogue or exchange, is loosely a culmination of the previous two movements – not thematically, but in its use of the invention, basso ostinato and variation. In an extended arch form (ABCB1AC1A1) it begins with a recurring off-kilter rhythm played by the bass clarinet upon which an agitated theme rests (A). It quickly builds and dissolves into an arabesque (B) that features both instruments in supporting and authoritative roles which transforms into a playful allegro animato (C). The arabesque (B1) deftly reappears in a developed form that multiplies into a klezmer-infused frenzy that decelerates into the opening theme (A). A more rhythmically driving animato (C1) section returns with tinges of the arabesques’ Hebraic influence which ushers in a final, definitive and bombastic return of the theme (A1).

Performance History:

-October 27th, 2010; No. 1 & 2; Music at MiMoDa – Paper or Plastik Cafe; West Los Angeles, California – 8PM

-November 20th, 2010; No. 1 & 2; Symbiosis - First Lutheran Church & School; Torrance, California – 7PM

-July 10th, 2012; M3 Classical @ ATX Kitchen; Atwater Village, California – 8PM

-December 8th, 2012; Classical Revolution – LA Indie Series; Novel Cafe; Los Angeles, California – 2PM

-December 6th, 2021; No. 1; Musica Prospettiva "shortones"; Namaste Ensemble; Livestream; Italy 

Three Conversations

Virgina Figueiredo, Clarinet

Jonathan Sacdalan, Bass Clarinet

George N. Gianopoulos


bottom of page