Sonata after Poulenc was originally written for Claude Delangle, Professor of Saxophone at the Paris Conservatoire. The music seeks to capture something of Poulenc's ebullient spirit, and his gift for melody and typically French harmonies. Canfield's own voice peeks through at certain points, and he didn't worry too much about those spots, simply concentrating on producing a piece that would be both fun to play and to listen to.
Initially, Canfield resisted publishing a version of this piece for clarinet and piano due to his not wishing to 'compete'with composers who had written works for a given instrument in their style, and Poulenc's own Clarinet Sonata is one of the staples of the repertory for the instrument. However, after hearing the saxophone version of the piece performed by several gifted players, the composer thought that it would work at least equally well on the clarinet, given that performers on that instrument are not overly burdened with repertory in a neo-Romantic style.
There are 3 movements containing some difficult technical demands, but also have lovely melodic writing.
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