Benny Goodman's commissioning of new works and their significance for twentieth-century clarinetists.
AuthorSnavely, John Albert.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBenjamin David (Benny) Goodman known for his unique style of jazz clarinet performance and the acclaimed "King of Swing" began studying and performing standard clarinet repertoire after becoming firmly established as a jazz musician. Goodman's thirst for new works and desire to become a recognized concert artist led to a series of commissions from noted composers of the twentieth century. The works created as a result of these commissions have received varied acceptance, yet are important contributions to clarinet repertoire. Some of the works included in this study have been described in other studies, yet no other study exists which summarizes the history, nature and import of non-jazz works commissioned by Goodman. This study is divided into four chapters. Chapter one summarizes Goodman's early musical training and the establishment of his jazz career; chapter two summarizes Goodman's study and performance of standard clarinet repertoire; and chapter three includes a description of each commissioned work in terms of history and musical style. Reviews, especially of premiere performances, are noted and summarized. The concluding chapter includes evaluative comments by recognized clarinetists about these works, documentation of recent rentals of their accompaniments, and a survey of current recordings available for each work. Works included in the study are: Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano by Bela Bartok; Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra by Aaron Copland; Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra by Paul Hindemith; Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra by Darius Milhaud; and Derivations for Clarinet and Band by Morton Gould. An unpremiered Concerto for Clarinet, Cello, and Orchestra by Allen Shawn is described. Letters written by composers Bela Bartok, Paul Hindemith, Morton Gould, Darius Milhaud, and Allen Shawn concerning their commissioned works were collected and are summarized. These letters along with the reviews of premiere performances, statements by noted clarinetists, and data concerning recent performances and recordings of works commissioned by Goodman form a new perspective of their history, nature and significance.