Photo - Sean Rice and Ryan Phelps

Sean Rice and Ryan Phelps, Clarinet and Piano


Saturday, May 5th
7:30 PM

$15  (Under 18s and Students with valid ID, available at the door only)


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Sean Rice, clarinet
Ryan Phelps, piano

This recital celebrates the beautiful sound of the clarinet, and some of the wonderful music written for it in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Sean Rice, second clarinet of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, partners with Ryan Phelps, a pianist and pedagogue based in Ottawa. In 1909, Claude Debussy was named to the board of directors of the Paris Conservatoire, and one of his first tasks was to write a work to be performed in student examinations. The result was the sublime ‘Première Rhapsodie’. Francis Poulenc wrote his Sonata for Clarinet and Piano near the end of his life, in 1962. The second movement is particularly nostalgic, and the whole work is dedicated to the memory of a fellow composer, Arthur Honegger. Copland’s Clarinet Sonata also has an elegiac quality. It was written in 1942-43, in memory of a friend who had been killed in action in the Second World War. The final work on the program, Brahms’ Sonata in E flat, is one of the pinnacles of the clarinet repertoire. It was written in 1894, and was part of a group of works written for the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld. Brahms had ‘retired’ as a composer a few years earlier, but Mühlfeld was apparently so spectacular a clarinetist that Brahms decided to come ‘out of retirement’ and produce a group of works centered on the Clarinet for him to perform.


Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Première Rhapsodie

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, FP 184

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in E flat, op. 120 no. 2