Clarinet Quartet (Penderecki)

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The Clarinet Quartet, also known as Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio, [1] is a work for clarinet, violin, viola, and cello by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. It was finished in 1993.


Composition and premiere

This composition was dedicated to Ake Holmquist and premiered in Lübeck on August 13, 1993. [2] For this performance, Israeli clarinetist Sharon Kam, German violinist Christoph Poppen, American violist Kim Kashkashian, and collaborator and Russian cellist Boris Piergamienszczikow played the work under the baton of Penderecki himself. [1] These musicians also performed the piece to be broadcast in television, also with Penderecki as conductor. [3] It was later published by Schott Music. [4]

Harry Kinross-White also wrote an arrangement of this composition for saxophone quartet in 1999. The first performance of this arrangement took place in the Dresden Days of Contemporary Music in 1999 by Raschèr Saxophone Quartet. [1]


The Clarinet Quartet takes approximately 15 minutes to perform and is in four movements. The movement list is as follows: [5]

  1. Notturno. Adagio
  2. Scherzo. Vivacissimo
  3. Serenade. Tempo di Valse
  4. Abschied. Larghetto


This composition received universal acclaim, both in the first performance and in recordings. In the premiere, the composition was played twice due to audience demand. [6] According to Lutz Lesle, the composition was inspired by Schubert's String Quintet. [6]

Notable recordings

Following are some of the most well-known recordings of this piece:

ClarinetViolinViolaCelloRecord CompanyYear of RecordingFormat
Sharon Kam Christoph Poppen Kim Kashkashian Boris Piergamienszczikow Sony 1993 CD and DVD [1]
Martin Fröst Patrick Swedrup Ingegerd Kierkegaard Helena Nilsson BIS Records 1994CD [1]
Ulf Rodenhäuser Ida Bieler Enrique Santiago Martin Ostertag Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm 1997CD [1] [7]
Donald Montanaro Luis Biava Sidney Curtiss William Stokking Boston Records 1996CD [1]
Michel Lethiec Régis Pasquier Bruno Pasquier Arto Noras Naxos 2001CD [1] [8]

The saxophone quartet version has also been recorded by Raschèr Saxophone Quartet and released by BIS Records in 2001. [9]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Bylander, Cindy. Krzysztof Penderecki : a bio-bibliography. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. ISBN   0-313-25658-6.
  2. "Prywatny polski festiwal w Niemczech. Szlezwik-Holsztyn '93". Ruch muzyczny. 37 (19). 1993.
  3. "Penderecki's Quartet for Clarinet and Strings (1995) (TV)". IMDb. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  4. Penderecki, Krzysztof. "Quartet composer: Krzysztof Penderecki for clarinet, violin, viola and violoncello". Schott Music. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  5. Penderecki, Krzysztof (1993). Quartett für Klarinette und Streichtrio. Schott Music. Archived from the original on 2014-02-23.
  6. 1 2 Lesle, Lutz (November 1993). "Feuerfarben und Wassertöne. Polnische Novitäten beim Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival". Das Orchester . 41 (11): 1195–1196.
  7. "Penderecki, Krzysztof: Chamber Music". Villa Musica Rheinland-Pfalz. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  8. "PENDERECKI: Sextet / Clarinet Quartet / Cello Divertimento". Naxos Digital Services. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  9. "XENAKIS / PENDERECKI / HINDEMITH / NORGARD / HALFFTER: Music for Saxophone Quartet". Naxos Digital Services. Retrieved 23 February 2014.