Introduction, Theme, and Variations for Clarinet and Piano - Rossini

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For clarinet and orchestra (piano reduction).

Rossini was barely 18 when he wrote this piece, originally for clarinet in C, but it is now almost always played on the conventional B flat instrument. It has almost nothing in common with his later opera overtures, aside from the presence of a slow introduction; it is, however, something of a coloratura aria for the clarinet. Following the introduction, its second half embellished by the soloist, there emerges a moderately paced but jaunty tune stated by the clarinet and then briefly recapped by the orchestra. Once this melody is in place, Rossini offers five variations. The first three are all animated, each adding to the density of the coloratura ornamentation. The fourth variation, in contrast, is slow and dips into the minor mode, yet Rossini retains a certain friskiness by having the strings play a pizzicato accompaniment. The fifth variation and coda abound in high spirits and a note-cluttered melodic line for the clarinet. The coda hints at, but does not quite achieve, the famous Rossini crescendo style yet to come.