Movement 1: Adagio
Movement 2: Scherzando
Movement 3: Grave
Movement 4: Rondo
The dance-like element continues in the second movement, with scraps of thematic material woven into the texture, as light as gossamer and thistle-down, the whole controlled by an instinctive and admirable feeling for pace and structure. A solo viola idea (almost English in its inherent modality) opens the slow movement, to be answered by the clarinet and the other strings. A secondary, rising theme now follows, maintaining the warm and tender musical atmosphere, a feature of which is the highlighting of various instruments for brief solo passages—this aspect lends a widening of texture, almost visually panoramic, to the music. A gathering of forces ushers in a more anguished development from which the clarinet, in its chalumeau register, intones a lengthy theme of calm and graceful character. As the strings take this up, the clarinet weaves melismata around the strings, drawing the music to its close.
A gentle ‘motoric’ rhythm on the strings sets the finale in motion, before the clarinet enters with a dance-like jolly, salty tune. Formally, the finale is what might be termed a ‘sonatina-rondo’ with superbly varied episodes displaying much imaginative skill from the composer. A cadenza from the clarinet heralds the lively adieu.
from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 1998