Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (1899 – 1963) was a French
composer and pianist. He grew up in a musical household;
his mother, Jenny, was a capable pianist, with a wide
ranging repertoire. As the younger child and only son,
Francis was encouraged to follow a career in business and
was not permitted to enroll at a music college. However,
after the death of his parents when he was still in his
teens, Ricardo Vines, his piano instructor, became his
mentor. Vines encouraged his pupil to compose, and later
gave the premiere performances of three early works by
Francis. Through him, Francis became friends with two
other composers, Georges Auric and Eric Satie, who
helped shape his early development.
Early in his career, Poulenc expressed a concern about
at his lack of formal musical training. At the
suggestion of Milhaud, Poulenc began studies with the
composer and teacher Charles Koechlin, emphasizing
counterpoint. During this period, Poulenc composed three
chamber wind works: the Sonata for Two Clarinets (1918),
the Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon (1922) and the
Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone (1922).
About these works Poulenc wrote:
'Concerning my first three wind sonatas, their
existence is due, without a doubt, exclusively to my
instinct. Clearly, they are youthful works, and calling
them sonatas might surprise certain people because of
their restrained dimensions, but we must not forget that
Debussy had just revived the tradition of the
eighteenth-century French sonata, as a reaction against
the post-Franckian sonata. Well-written for winds, these
sonatas maintain a certain youthful vitality that links
them to Dufy's early canvasses.'
There are 3 movements in the Sonata for Two Clarinets.
One part is for B-flat clarinet, and the other for A
clarinet. The total duration is approximately 6.5 minutes.
The Jeanne publication contains both a full score, usable
for early rehearsals and score study, but also
individual parts for each clarinet part
that limit page turns to only between movements. The
edition is edited by John Anderson.