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Jorg Widmann Fantasie For Clarinet Solo Pdf 31

Jorg Widmann Fantasie for Clarinet Solo: A Modern Masterpiece

Jorg Widmann is a German composer, clarinetist, and professor who has written many works for his own instrument, the clarinet. One of his most famous and frequently performed pieces is the Fantasie for Clarinet Solo, composed in 1993 when he was only 20 years old. This article will explore the background, structure, and style of this remarkable work, as well as provide some tips on how to play it.


The Fantasie for Clarinet Solo was inspired by two other works for solo clarinet: Igor Stravinsky's Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet (1919) and Pierre Boulez's Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) for clarinet and tape. Widmann had in mind the Harlequin figure from the Italian commedia dell'arte, a comic character who often wears a colorful costume and a mask. He wanted to create a piece that reflects the "eccentric virtuosity and cheerful, ironic fundamental character" of Harlequin, as well as the "dialogues of different people in close proximity" . The piece was premiered by the composer himself on March 1, 1994 at Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich .

jorg widmann fantasie for clarinet solo pdf 31


The Fantasie for Clarinet Solo is divided into four sections, each with a different tempo and character :

  • Free, rhapsodically: The piece begins with a multiphonic chord that parodies the typical opening of many new music pieces. The clarinet then explores various sounds and gestures, ranging from lyrical melodies to noisy effects.

  • Fast, brilliant: The second section is a fast and virtuosic display of technical skills, with rapid scales, arpeggios, trills, and leaps. The clarinet also imitates the sound of a saxophone or a trumpet with glissandos and bends.

  • Presto possible: The third section is even faster and more frantic, with short bursts of notes and silences. The clarinet also uses extended techniques such as multiphonics, flutter-tonguing, key clicks, and breath sounds.

  • Tempo come prima, ma poco più mosso: The fourth section returns to the tempo and mood of the second section, but with more intensity and variation. The piece ends with a high-pitched glissando that fades away.


The Fantasie for Clarinet Solo is a showcase of contemporary clarinet sound and technique. Widmann combines conventional playing with unconventional sounds, creating a rich and diverse sonic palette. He also incorporates elements of dance, klezmer, and jazz music into his composition, creating a contrast between the Romantic melodious sound and the ironic side trips into light music . The piece is full of extremes in dynamic, tempo, and character, reflecting the personality of Harlequin. Widmann also uses harmony as the central theme of the work, exploring different chords and intervals throughout the piece .

Tips on How to Play

The Fantasie for Clarinet Solo is a challenging but rewarding piece to play. Here are some tips on how to master it:

  • Practice slowly and carefully: The piece requires a high level of technical proficiency and control. It is important to practice slowly and carefully at first, focusing on accuracy, intonation, articulation, and tone quality. Gradually increase the speed until you reach the desired tempo.

  • Use your imagination: As the title suggests, the piece is meant to be played with imagination and expression. Try to convey the different moods and characters of each section, as well as the humor and irony of the piece. Experiment with different colors and nuances in your sound.

  • Take pleasure in making tonal distinctions: Widmann emphasizes the importance of making tonal distinctions in his piece, even despite the strict timing. He advises to "use your imagination and enjoy playing my 'Fantasie'" . Try to bring out the different harmonies and melodies in your playing.

  • Listen to recordings: Listening to recordings can help you get familiar with the piece and learn from other performers. Some of the recommended recordings are by Bettina Aust , Eduard Brunner , and Stefan Neubauer . You can also listen to Widmann's own performance of the piece on YouTube.

The Fantasie for Clarinet Solo is a modern masterpiece that showcases the versatility and expressiveness of the clarinet. It is a fun and challenging piece to play, as well as to listen to. If you are looking for a PDF of the score, you can find it on Schott Music's website . Happy practicing!


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