I composed this sonata for clarinet and piano while a freshman at the Eastman School of Music; it is my earliest successful multi-movement work (that is, it is more than simply a suite of disparate movements). Its two movements are contrasting, to be sure—the first is a simple, tuneful lullaby and the second is a driving, densely contrapuntal fast movement—but they share thematic material. The “Berceuse” begins with a free melody in the solo clarinet that recurs as the culmination of its truncated sonata formʼs development section; it appears again as a quiet coda to that movement and in a swirl of recapitulated materials in the “Allegro Molto.” The second thematic area of the “Berceuse” includes a laughing, grace-note-laden figure that likewise recurs in the second movement, and both movements are united by a shared tonal center (one could say that both movements are “in G.”)
Although both movements are essentially in sonata form, each form is adapted to the materials and needs of each movement. The first movement could just as easily be understood as an arch-form, with the introduction returning at its conclusion (with its contents reversed). That it is missing the recapitulation of its second thematic area “feels” right, formally, and also strengthens its arch structure. The second movement allows the roles of the clarinet and piano to switch in its recapitulation, and re-purposes the rising scales that end the first thematic group into a dramatic push to its final cadence.