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Nigel Keay - Trio for Clarinet, Viola & Piano (2009)
"Adagietto Antique"

for Clarinet in A, Viola & Piano in four movements - Duration: ca 15 minutes

1. Adagietto Antique (ca. 4'28"), 2. Allegro Moderato (ca. 5'00"), 3. = 112 (ca. 1'53"), 4. Adagio (ca. 4'32")

Audio of Trio; First Movement mp3Second Movement mp3Third Movement mp3Fourth Movement mp3. Performed by Erika Bliznik - clarinet, Nigel Keay - viola, Jeffrey Grice - piano


The Trio for Clarinet Viola & Piano was completed in 2009. The title and melodic material of the first movement of this work are inspired by two separate influences; Adagietto Antique began as a sketch for a possible work for an atypical Parisian group comprised of six harps, double bass and percussion. This gave a somewhat orchestral and spatialised conception of the movement with the piano evoking the subtle timbres of the plucked strings. "Antique" in the title of the movement is a reference to the harp as one of the oldest stringed instruments. The second influence in writing the work was early twentieth century French music; at the time of writing the first movement, Adagietto Antique, the composer was rehearsing/performing the String Quartet in F Major of Maurice Ravel.

The transformation of the first movement to a work for clarinet viola and piano was driven by several factors; the better suitability of the trio instruments for the chromatic melodic material along with the composer's desire to put the material into a compact formation that included viola (his own instrument) with more performance possibilities. The addition of the clarinet added another timbral possibility in the same range as the viola so as to better highlight the interwoven melodic interplay throughout.

The trio, taking its sub-title from the first movement Adagietto Antique, was completed in 2009, and first performed in 2010 by the composer's own group with the clarinetist Erika Bliznik, and the pianist Jeffrey Grice.

photo of group

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