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The Concertino for Clarinet and String Quartet was recorded by David Shifrin and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. This recording is available to order or download at Amazon or iTunes.


Before the performance of the Concertino for Clarinet and String Quartet at Tanglewood in 2005 Bright Sheng with the Chamber Music Professor Andrea W. Jennings (left) and Performers

Concertino for Clarinet and String Quartet (1994)

1. Andante
2. Prestissimo
3. Largo




Program Note

The Concertino for Clarinet and String Quartet was written for David Shifrin and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. It was world premiered in 1994 and was later recorded by David Shifrin and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Many Central European composers such as Bartók and Janácek have believed that the fundamental elements for their music come from the native folk music and prosody of their native languages. And therefore when one understands the folk music and languages from these regions, one can truly understand and appreciate their works. Although this may be true, the music of these composers is nonetheless widely liked and admired by millions who do not know their languages. In that respect, this is the very goal I wish to achieve in my writing, which stems from Asian culture.

The materials of this works are drawn from fragments of folk tunes I heard over thirty years ago when I was living the northwest part of China. What struck me then was that, unlike most Chinese folk music, the folk music from that region is not based on a pentatonic scale. Rather, it has a seven-note scale similar to the mixolydian church mode. I wondered what it would be like if one were to use this melodic pattern in work for Western instruments and whether it would lose it Asian quality.



—Bright Sheng