Klarinette in A, Violine,
Viola und Violoncello
Score and parts
ISMN M 700196-65-3
It was with “grateful melancholy” that the composer Jürg Baur described his 2002 Ballade, subtitled Abschied (Farewell), as an evocation of reflection and retrospection in sound. Following his penchant for musical citation, Baur here cites the first theme of Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet. This, he confided at the premiere of the Ballade for Clarinet and String Trio in September 2008, represents for him (“somewhat audaciously formulated”) the “incarnation of melancholy.” Within the crisp, formally-arranged one movement work, the cited motif functions as the musical framework, and is sounded at both the beginning and the end.
The real core of the work stems from his earlier, un- equivocally twelve tone String Quartet No. 3 of 1952. Baur remarked about this phase of his creations that it was “the beginning of new music making for a soldier returning from war, who now wanted to interact with twelve tone music, but on his own terms.” He characterized his dodecaphonic themes as the “new experiences of a Classical-Romantic melody in a somewhat edgier tonal dialect.” The tone row employed in the Ballade is begun alone with the first twelve notes of the clarinet. In bars 3 to 6 the theme follows rhythmically organized in string unison, just as it does in Baur’s 3rd String Quartet.
That the Ballade is published here posthumously is due to the personal encounter of Jürg Baur and the clarinetist Kerstin Grötsch, and the latter’s continued advocacy of the work after the premiere.