Completed in January 1951, the same month that produced Arnold's Oboe Sonatina, Op. 28, the Clarinet Sonatina was given its first performance on March 20 of that year at the Gallery of the Royal Society of British Artists in London. The accompanying pianist was Geoffrey Corbett, and the clarinetist none other than a young Colin Davis, before his worldwide renown as a conductor.
The Clarinet Sonatina is in three brief movements, totaling some nine minutes. Three themes dominate the first movement, Allegro con brio. The first is a bit wild, with several wide leaps and chordal punctuations from the piano, the second hints at jazz rhythms, and the third provides a quiet interlude before the concluding return of the opening theme. The second-movement Andantino is gentle and lovely, and the third, appropriately marked Furioso, is a breathless dance in triple meter that provides quite a workout for both instrumentalists.