Nashville-based composer Cristina Spinei writes upbeat, lyrical music inspired by her love of dance.  She joins us today to tell us about her Clarinet Concerto (2017), which we’ll be premiering on the upcoming New Concerto Project.


Clarinetist Emily Tyndall and I are part of the Nashville based new
music group Sound Riot. About a year ago, at Sound Riot pianist Amber
Thruman’s wedding, Emily asked if I would be interested in composing a
concerto for her. I had never written a concerto before so I thought
it would be a fun project to work on. A few months later Rachel
proposed the idea of the New Concerto Project to me, and I knew that I
had to write this work!

Concerto for Clarinet is in two contrasting movements and is scored
for clarinet and string orchestra. The first movement is slow and
lyrical; I really wanted to take advantage of Emily’s gorgeous tone. I
used a lot of divisi strings to give the clarinet accompaniment a
light, translucent texture. I wanted to keep everything simple in this
movement. It’s refreshing to write a piece that focuses on melody and
the beauty of lines.

The second movement is a fast, rhythmic one that uses an ostinato as
the main theme. This is actually a reworking of a piece that I wrote
for Sound Riot, Lilt. I was commissioned by the dance company New
Dialect to write a piece for dance using Sound Riot. Since I knew that
I had the concerto to write for Emily, I wrote Lilt with the intention
of turning it into the concerto later. It was a good way to test out
some material for the clarinet part. The instrumentation of the
concerto is completely different from Lilt, but the main ideas stayed
the same. I think there were a few obnoxiously complicated rhythms
that I took out. And I also added a cadenza, which the original piece
didn’t have. The hardest part about writing a new piece is waiting to
hear how it all sounds! I’m very excited to be involved with this
project.

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