Shortly after arriving at the West Point Band in 2002, I began arranging Béla Bartók’s Quartet No. 2 for four clarinets. I have always loved this piece, and arranging it was a labor of love. It enabled me to obtain a much deeper understanding of the piece than I ever would have by studying it alone. I scored it for two Bb clarinets, one A clarinet and bass clarinet. I chose to leave the notes as-written, meaning the clarinet quartet sounds a whole-step lower than Bartók intended.
When I found out I was recording the Poulenc Sextet with my woodwind quintet, I was thrilled. One of my teachers, Anthony Gigliotti, had performed the Poulenc Sextet with Poulenc himself playing piano. I fondly recalled the memories of him telling stories of what it was like to work with Poulenc. The piece is full of brash energy, and is so unabashedly French sounding, I can nearly smell the red wine and cigarettes just listening to it.
Diana Powers - flute, Carey Winans - oboe, Sam Kaestner - clarinet
Glenn West - bassoon, Josh Phillips - French horn, Yalin Chi - piano
Recorded in the winter of 2008 at the West Point Band’s Egner Hall, West Point, NY.