In 1947 Aaron Copland accepted a commission from Benny Goodman, ‘The King Of Swing’, for a piece for solo Clarinet and Orchestra. Copland, always wary of repeating himself, welcomed the challenge of composing a Clarinet concerto – ‘it might stimulate some fresh ideas’. He knew from the start that a bow to jazz was called for, and he hoped also to demonstrate the lyrical qualities of the Clarinet. Dedicated to Goodman, the Concerto for Clarinet was finished by the end of 1948. Clarinettists were soon welcoming this new virtuoso piece, and it has since become a standard in the Orchestral repertoire.
The concerto consists of two movements played back-to-back, connected by a Clarinet cadenza. The dreamy and melodic first movement is followed by a free rondo dominated by melodic Latin American jazz themes and is resolved in the end with an elaborate coda in C major that finishes off with a Clarinet glissando – or "smear" in jazz lingo.
Originally written for Clarinet and String Orchestra with Harp and Piano, in this edition Concerto for Clarinet is arranged for Clarinet with Piano accompaniment by the composer. Along the published version with the changes requested by Benny Goodman, ossias from the original 1948 manuscript are included as well. Comes with a separate insert of the Clarinet score.