If you haven't played it, you need to play it. It is the piece of pieces. It is the grand-daddy of all the concertos ever written for the clarinet and it was composed by the best composer of all time. If I hadn't started the list with this, I'm afraid fire would have come raining down upon me.
Of the pieces that Weber wrote for the clarinet, this is the best. Most people favor the Polacca at the end but the slow movement is my personal favorite.
This one is for a mature player. Gone are the frills and thrills of Weber. The Brahms sonatas are serious works that keep teaching the player something with every performance.
The second of the two sonatas that Brahms wrote at the end of his life is charming and lovely compared to the more brooding Sonata No. 1. I prefer the first one.
For many years this was THE PIECE that set apart the undergrads from the graduate level clarinetists. This is a stunning piece for the advanced listener and PLAYER. The catch to this piece is finding the pianist and a percussionist to play the snare drum for your performance.
Written for Benny Goodman, this concerto stands out from the rest because of it's jazz section.
The first movement of this piece is quite lovely while the rondo presents its challenges with noodly passages and an awkward but playful leap that reoccurs. The second movement is also gorgeous.
According to Karl Leister, this is the best of the four concertos that Spohr wrote for the clarinet. Spohr, a contemporary of Weber, wrote his four concertos with the violin in mind. Written for the clarinetist Johann Simon Hermstedt, this particular concerto goes up to a super high C.
Difficult because its French and therefore light and sometimes rhythmically ambiguous compared to the pieces listed above. This is definitely a piece for the delicate clarinetist who has a broad spectrum of softs at their disposal.
Stravinsky wrote this piece for unaccompanied clarinet in 1919, right after he had completed the Suite to L'Histoire du Soldat. The first movement is slow and thoughtful while the second two movements are more jazzy. This is a challenging piece to subdivide and to play.
I beloved piece by so many and yet I have become sick of it. Imagine going to Disneyland EVERY DAY for 10 years. You'll love it. I used to.
Another masterpiece of the repertoire, this one never gets old. This is a great piece to get clarinetists started on serious French works. Once the clarinetist has graduated from all of the solo de concours pieces, this is the next level.
Speaking of Solo de Concours pieces, this is at the top of the heap as an all-time favorite. This is another piece with an attractive cadenza that is still impressive after all these years.
I like the Hindemith Sonata. I never had the opportunity to play it. The piano part is challenging and sadly with time, this piece has begun to go to the wayside. This piece is still on my bucket list though.
This composer wrote a piece for every single wind instrument. He wrote several for the clarinet including 2 concertos, a trio with flute and oboe, and an unaccompanied piece.
Another charming little piece especially for high school clarinetists. Not necessarily a favorite but a great piece to assign to younger players.
What more could you want? A dramatic introduction that leads to a theme in major that is dipped in all kinds of classical variations and ends with a bang! What's not to love?
Schumann needs no introduction. His solo for clarinet and piano is very well known and loved by many. I find it a bit to syrupy for my taste but to each their own.
Was I about to type a list without the Rabaud? OMG. The Rabaud is yet another solo that is perfect for the high school student because it's not quite as challenging as the Messager but it is a charming little solo that many will enjoy.
Larsen seems to be a fan of Rock music because many of her pieces seem to have a Rock influence. There is also one movement that reminds me of how people from the 80's imitated robots and computers and the sounds they would make.
This piece is gorgeous! The whole piece from top to bottom. Castelnuovo-Tedesco was a film composer and this piece sounds like it could be the background to a modern film.
This stunning and brilliant piece is like a ride on a roller coaster through a candy factory! The cadenza in the first movement is so rewarding and the second movement drips of beauty. For listeners the third movement is the most fun because of it's trippy rhythm that never seems to catch up with itself.
If you are looking for classical jazz this is the piece. The last movement feels like you're walking the Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood on a sunny day. The first movement is a bit quirkier than the last. The second movement stands alone as a great piece for background music at an event.
What I love about the Ireland Fantasy is that it spends a lot of time in the clarinet's low register. Dark colors with sudden bursts of light is the best way to describe this piece.
Of the three concertos that Crusell wrote for the clarinet, the second really is the best. This is a great precursor to the Spohr concerti when studying the clarinet.
Like clocks and watches, Time Pieces has this mechanical drive that sometimes unwinds only to build up again. A great piece for a recital because it has a quirkiness to it that has made it endure as a clarinet favorite of many.
This piece is technically challenging but also challenging for the ensemble because of it's improvisatory style. Long runs to be played freely are followed by delicate dance-like parts that they clarinetist must play effortlessly.
Delmas' Fantasie Italienne is a charming piece that follows the same recipe as many of the solo de concours pieces--slow intro, faster section, and super fast ending. Cheesy yet satisfying.
This probably doesn't make a lot of "Top 10" lists for clarinet players but it is one of my favorites. This piece is originally for oboe. I love the beginning. This is another piece with a cheesy ending.
What a great piece! I hadn't heard a piece like this that grabbed my attention in a LONG TIME. I will play this piece one day. I'll probably have to go on a diet and have a consistent exercise routine to pull it off but I will play it!
I don't know why I love this piece so much. It could be because it lies well under the fingers and sounds so impressive. It's easy to put together and it still has that Classical boom, chuck, chuck, chuck underneath. I love it!
This was originally written for cello but like all good pieces, we stole it. I love this piece although it is super easy. Melancholic melodies where the clarinet can spend some time in the low register. Why not?
This along with his second concerto, is probably one of the best pieces he ever wrote, period. From beginning to end, this piece is satisfying because while it is early Romantic it avoids being cheesy and instead delivers a certain elegance that surpasses other pieces in the genre.
This is the solo that made me choose music as my major! Cheesy as all get out but I loved it.
Yet another beautiful work seeped in the German Romantic tradition. I love this piece and sadly it's not played often.
This is another great piece that is so well written for the clarinet. Rigoletto lies well under the fingers compared to the Fantasy on La Traviata.
I love this piece. I came to love it even more when I learned that Rozsa was the composer of Ben Hur.
Arranged by John Gibson, this piece is rewarding for clarinetists because we don't have much arranged from the Baroque era. This piece is quite taxing on the breath and lips but worth it. Keep in mind that this arrangement does not include the entire Chaconne but this arrangement is still exhausting.
This piece was originally written for violin and piano but once again, we stole it! It translates to Hungarian Dances. Following the same slow-fast recipe with a cadenza in the middle, this is sure to make your favorites list in no time.
So much fun! Not originally written for clarinet either but a joy to play and even just listen to. The third movement is everyone's favorite.
This piece was originally written for bassoon but sounds good on both.
This is a great piece! With its Latin influence it's a lovely addition to a recital for a change of pace!
Bela Kovacs wrote a collection of homages to various composers and many of the solos are attractive and well-written. I just happen to have played this particular one several times and enjoy it quite a bit!
Great beginning. It gets a little twisty later but a rewarding piece and so well written. There are no cheesy moments.