Clarinet Concerto No. 2 was the second clarinet concerto written by English composer Malcolm Arnold, his Opus 115. It was commissioned in 1974 by clarinetist Benny Goodman, who had given the American premiere of Arnold's first clarinet concerto in 1967.
In the late 1960s, Goodman telephoned Arnold to commission the concerto; however, Arnold, believing the call to be a prank, yelled "Sod off!" and hung up on him. After this confusion was resolved, Arnold agreed to compose the piece. Upon its completion in April 1974, Goodman travelled to Dublin to collect the score. Arnold left it in his hotel room with flowers and a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey. Several hours later he received a call from Goodman, who noted: "I may be a bit stoned but I think your concerto is just great!"
The concerto is tailored to Goodman's jazz background: the first movement, "Allegro vivace", includes a cadenza marked "as jazzy and way out as you please". "Lento", the second movement, is more lyrical, although Paul Serotsky suggests that "this might have 'graced' some horror film". The final movement, "Allegro non troppo", is also known as the "Pre-Goodman Rag", and is characterized by ragtime rhythms.
Performances & Interviews
- Watch an analysis of Arnold's Clarinet concertohttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01yqnx0.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01yqnx0.jpg2014-05-08T16:39:00.000ZAlan Shipton and Julian Bliss explore Malcolm Arnold's clarinet concerto.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01yqnxl
Watch an analysis of Arnold's Clarinet concertoAlan Shipton and Julian Bliss explore Malcolm Arnold's clarinet concerto.