Trio for 2 Clarinets and Piano by Christopher Norton
Christopher Norton is well-known throughout the world for his compositions for piano, particularly the Microjazz series, published by Boosey & Hawkes, and Connections for Piano, published by CN Connections Music. His music is popular with piano students as well as professional performers, because he writes well for the piano, has a subtle blend of jazz, pop and classical influences and has a distinctive style of writing that appeals to a wide range of audiences.
The Trio for 2 Clarinets and Piano is an arrangement of the Trio for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano, written in 2012. The 1st movement, A Day Out is very much an “outdoor” piece, easy-going and tuneful, with a number of themes vying for attention, particularly the opening theme and the lyrical second. These musical elements are stirred about in various ways, including a striking syncopated figure. A development section leads via scale passages to canonic figures and a varied restatement, which includes a heroic version of the second main theme. An Interlude is a soulful piece, with a declamatory piano introduction leading to a long lyrical main theme. A second section keeps the contemplative mood going and includes a passage for 2 clarinets without the piano. A restatement follows, in a loose canon between the clarinets. A coda gently lets the music wend its way out, with a final reference to the big tune right at the end.
A Breezy Day is a gently upbeat piece, with 6/8 and 5/8 featured, 5/8 probably being declared the winner. There are extrovert scale passages, syncopated rhythmic passages and the overall effect is light and airy, maybe even a bit breezy.