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Sonata for two clarinets

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sonate pour deux clarinettes
Sonata for two clarinets
Chamber music by Francis Poulenc
A clarinet
CatalogueFP 7
Composed1918 (1918)–45
DedicationÉdouard Souberbielle

The Sonata for two clarinets (Sonate pour deux clarinettes), FP 7, is a piece of chamber music composed by Francis Poulenc in 1918. Dedicated to Édouard Souberbielle, its total execution time is about six minutes. It is unusual among clarinet duets in that it is written for B clarinet, which generally plays the melodic themes, and A clarinet, which plays a more supporting role through much of the piece. It is also unusual for music of this period that the clarinetists perform different time signatures simultaneously in parts of the opening movement.


On 17 January 1918, Poulenc was mobilized despite the imminent end of the first world war. Based in Vincennes, he did not lose contact with the Paris of the arts and serenely led the beginnings of his career as a composer.

After he met some success with the Rapsodie nègre and worldwide fame[H 1] after the premiere of the Trois mouvements perpétuels played by pianist Ricardo Viñes, Poulenc began writing two pieces in the spring of 1918. Published the same year, the sonata for two pianos and the sonata for two clarinets were created during the same concerts at the Salle Huyghens in Paris on 5 April 1919.[1]

Reception and legacy

The success of the Trois mouvements perpétuels was confirmed by the sonata for two clarinets. The biographer Henri Hell recognized "an acid taste that delicately annoys the ear".[H 2]


Praised for the safety of its writing,[M 1] the sonata already testified to a mastery of the technique of wind instruments dear to the composer. This inclination for the winds coincided with that of Igor Stravinsky who clearly rejected the use of strings for their too strong resemblance to the human voice.[M 2]


Like most of the composer's chamber music pieces, with the exception of the Cello Sonata, the sonata for two clarinets has three short movements:

  1. Presto
  2. Andante
  3. Vif

Selected discography

Published score


  1. ^ Cover of the record Francis Poulenc - Intégrale Musique de chambre - RCA Red Seal, p. 8
  2. ^ Chester Novello Sonata for two clarinets. Accessed 2 May 2011
  1. ^ p. 36
  2. ^ p. 37–38
  1. ^ p. 21
  2. ^ p. 22


  • Hell, Henri (1978). Francis Poulenc (in French). Fayard. p. 388. ISBN 2-213-00670-9.
  • Machart, Renaud (1995). Poulenc. Éditions du Seuil. p. 252. ISBN 2-02-013695-3.
  • Schmidt, Carl B (1995). The Music of Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) – A Catalogue. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-816336-7.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 October 2020, at 13:48
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