This one movement work is developed entirely from the opening figures in the first four measures. The duo of clarinet and piano moves through numerous shifts in character, from long flowing legato melodies to rhythmically driving strains. The texture is mostly contrapuntal, frequently imitative counterpoint, with several canons appearing throughout the work. Of course, there is a cadenza, full of wide-ranging swoops of up to three octaves. And what would a cadenza be without a few trills, before the piano rejoins for the fiery conclusion?
This composition was composed for Heather Millette and Aki Kawano and was premiered by them in Lexington, Virginia in December of 1996.
Scherzo is also available in a version alto sax and piano.
Listen to this complete composition in the Jukebox