Skipworth – Partita for Solo Clarinet

Lachlan Skipworth’s remarkable first foray into the world of solo wind music

Lachlan Skipworth
Written Year
Premiered Year
Lloyd Van't Hoff
Movement Time Stamps

Lachlan Skipworth’s Partita for Solo Clarinet was commissioned by Charles Davidson and Lloyd Van’t Hoff; it was premiered by Lloyd Van’t Hoff at the Melbourne Recital Centre in 2019. Of the work, the composer writes the following:

“About 18 months ago, Lloyd put in a formal request for a solo clarinet work as a follow up to my wind-quintet Echoes and Lines for Arcadia Winds.

I sat on the idea for some time, because as a composer who thinks very harmonically the idea of a solo piece can be quite confronting—the safety net is gone.

However I resolved to use the opportunity as a challenge to re-assess my method of writing single-line melody.

The most obvious source of inspiration, which I’m sure you’ll hear in the first movement, was Bach. His solo works are so compelling in their ability to paint a complete harmonic picture through a single line. (I do, and I’m sure Lloyd does, have a clarinet player’s professional jealousy at the solo Partitas and Suites for violin and cello!

The third movement actually began life as a solo for the shinobue, a Japanese piccolo, for my big work for Sydney Symphony, Riley Lee and Taikoz last year. I’d taken an almost mathematical approach to building 3 or 4 note melodic cells and then trying to assemble them more like a puzzle. The material didn’t make the cut in the orchestral work but was revived here, without the deafening percussive accompaniment.

And the middle slow movement elongates a single 8-bar phrase into a sound world that is more like a traditional shakuhachi piece. I often argue that, of the western woodwind instruments it is actually the clarinet that is closest to the shakuhachi, not the flute as many might think!”