Brooklyn Bridge (2005) for Solo Clarinet and Symphony Band was commissioned by the International Clarinet Association. The world premiere was given by the University of Michigan Symphony Band under the direction of Michael Haithcock, with Michael Wayne, solo clarinet, at Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan on February 11, 2005. The concerto is scored for solo Bb clarinet, piccolo, 3 flutes, 2 alto, tenor and baritone saxophones,
4 horns, 3 C trumpets, 3 trombones, 2 euphoniums, 2 tubas, timpani, 4 percussion, harp, and a clarinet choir consisting of 6 Bb clarinets, 2 bass clarinets and Eb contrabass clarinet. Duration is approximately 20 minutes.
Designed by John Roebling (1806-1869), the Brooklyn Bridge endures as the most admired and best-loved bridge in New York City. After the opening of the bridge to the public in 1883, Harper’s Monthly reported, “The wise man will not cross the bridge in five minutes, nor in twenty. He will linger to get the good of the splendid view about him”. As I have lingered and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge over the years, the stunning vistas of the New York skyline have inspired me to compose a panoramic clarinet concerto.
Like the four cables of webs of wire and steel that hold the Brooklyn Bridge together,
my ode to this cultural icon is divided into four movements. Each movement of the clarinet concerto is a musical view from the Brooklyn Bridge: I. East (Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights); II. South (Statue of Liberty); III. West (Wall Street and the lower Manhattan skyline which was once dominated by the World Trade Towers); IV. North (Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center). In the final movement of the concerto, I also imagine Artie Shaw, the great jazz swing clarinetist of the 1940s, performing with his orchestra in the once glorious Rainbow Room on the sixty-fifth floor of the Rockefeller Center.