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Stanford wrote only two works for clarinet; the present Sonata, completed on 28 December 1911, and the slightly earlier Concerto. In both, his admiration for Brahms is evident, but the slow movement of the Sonata proves how potent, too, was the influence of the music of his own country (a ‘Caoine’, pronounced ‘keen’, is a type of Irish lament). Throughout the work Stanford’s great technical skill is shown by the beauty and transparency of the textures, and by the cunning way in which the thematic interest is so evenly divided between the two instruments.
from notes by Howard Ferguson and Robert Matthew-Walker © 1997