Serenade was arranged for the Tokyo Clarinet Ensemble's 3rd Annual Concert and edited for publication based upon their 1981 performance at Ishibashi Memorial Hall. The Tokyo Clarinet Ensemble was established in 1979. Renowned for its virtuosity and brilliant artistry, the ensemble has always presented a unique musical experience, contributing to the advancement of clarinet ensemble repertoire. Its members are leading professional musicians from the Tokyo region. Performers may vary depending upon schedule, but all participants hold dear the group's core mission of providing an unparalleled musical experience.
For that 3rd Annual Concert, the young members (in their 20's and 30's) included Kazuo Fujii (leader), Akihisa Kato, Yoshiaki Suzuki, Masayoshi Ubukata, Ikuo Inagaki, Kiyoshi Arai, Masashi Togame, and Nobuo Fukushima, now all top clarinet professionals. Their performance was not only technically superb, but reflected first-rate artistry. I had the honor of participating and it was an eye opening experience that changed my life forever.
Tokyo Clarinet Ensemble is more than a basic octet, also using alto clarinet and basset horn for a steady middle voice. The ensemble thus has more tonal colors. Though it is fascinating to have this unique timbre, it is sometimes difficult for one to obtain a basset horn, so I also assigned the basset horn line to other parts. This Serenade is rewritten in the same manner. Instead of having a basset horn part, I have included it in the 3rd and 4th Bb Clarinet, Alto and Bass Clarinet parts. The original basset horn part is the 4th. Its tessitura is in the lower range, requiring the abilities of a highly-trained player.
The original Serenade was for string orchestra. Since the string ensemble produces many harmonics, I sought to recreate that warm sound. The harmonic series is different for the clarinets. Depicting a warm, round sound for the clarinet choir was a great challenge. To compensate for the lack of harmonics in clarinet timbre, I expanded the original five parts into eight parts, creating the harmonics amongst varied clarinet voices. I wished to score for more parts, but I cannot have it all.
As I examined the score from 35 years ago, I realized that the process must have taken an immense amount of time since there were no computers to re-orchestrate thirty minutes of music. However, I do not remember feeling burdened or pressured at the time. Perhaps I really love this work. There is a joy in studying an earlier score or great edition for possible revision or adaptation for refreshed presentation.