“This piece is certainly one of the most amiable I have ever written” Claude Debussy confided to his publisher, on December 8, 1911, about his Rhapsodie for orchestra and clarinet. Originally for clarinet and piano, the work was commissioned by Gabriel Fauré, who at that time director of the Paris Conservatory, and needed a competition piece. Two other pieces of French music follow: Ernest Chausson’s juvenile Andante et allegro for clarinet and piano, and Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for clarinet and piano, composed for the American jazz clarinettist Benny Goodman. This is one of Poulenc’s last works, balancing melancholy, vivaciousness and humour.
“Night Passages” is then a nocturnal journey through the centuries, curated Martin Fröst, which brings together rare and well-known works in original new arrangements for clarinet, double bass and piano.