Clarinet quintet

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Traditionally a clarinet quintet is a chamber musical ensemble made up of one clarinet, plus the standard string quartet of two violins, one viola, and one cello. Now the term clarinet quintet can refer to five B clarinets; four B clarinets and a bass clarinet; three B clarinets and two bass clarinets; one E clarinet, two B clarinets, and two bass clarinets; or one E clarinet, two B clarinets, one E alto clarinet, and one bass clarinet. The term is also used to refer to a piece written for one of these ensembles.


One of the earliest and most influential works for this combination of instruments is Mozart's Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581, written for the clarinetist Anton Stadler in 1789. Although a few compositions for this ensemble were produced over the following years, including the Op. 34 clarinet quintet by Carl Maria von Weber, a composer famous for his solo clarinet compositions, it was not until Johannes Brahms composed his Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 for Richard Mühlfeld that the clarinet quintet began to receive considerable attention from composers.


The Farallon Quintet claims to be the only professional chamber music group that is focused exclusively on performing the repertoire for string quartet plus clarinet.

Works for clarinet quintet[edit]

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