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979-0-57036-549-4 Clarinet Concerto (Sky Blue) – Parts On hire On hire
979-0-57036-550-0 Clarinet Concerto (Sky Blue) – Study score Available at MusicRoom Buy now (£14.95)
979-0-57036-548-7 Clarinet Concerto (Sky Blue) – Conducting score Available at MusicRoom Buy now (£17.95)


Clarinet Concerto (Sky Blue) is in three movements (fast, slow, fast). The first and third movements are for solo clarinet and full orchestra. The second movement is for solo clarinet and strings only.

The solo versus ensemble dynamic is at its most intense in the third movement where different kinds of textures are explored, exchanged and resolved.

The subtitle "Sky Blue" is from a painting (1940) by Wassily Kandinsky in which figures appear to float freely across a clear blue sky. The painting has been described as ‘an ethereal, Miró-like confection with biomorphic squiggles that buzz like glimmering insects in the afternoon sun’ (Mona Molarsky). There are some places in the music which feature soloists in the orchestra alongside the solo clarinet, perhaps like the free-floating figures in Kandinsky’s painting.

The music has passages of simplicity, contrasting with places of greater complexity. The opening of the work is radiant, with energy and warmth. This material is recalled towards the end of the work in the third movement. Between these points, lightness, darkness, changing colours, tempos and tensions are explored.

The work was conceived for solo clarinet in A, to make use of this instrument's expressive timbre and range, including its low C sharp (in the second movement).

The work was written for the clarinettist Alison Hughes and is dedicated to Jenny Hughes on the occasion of her 80th birthday.  A recording of the premiere is available to listen to here: .

Ed Hughes


19 minutes

Dedicated to Jenny Hughes, on the occasion of her 80th birthday.


Alison Hughes (solo clarinet), with the Lewes Concert Orchestra, 14th October 2022.

2 Flute, 2 Oboe, 2 B-flat Clarinet, 2 Bassoon, 2 Horn in F, 2 Trumpet in B-flat, 2 Trombone, 1 Tuba, 1 Timpani, 1 Solo Clarinet in A, 1 Orchestral Strings, 1 Percussion
Composition date


5 April 2025 Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton

Alison Hughes (clarinet), with Southampton Concert Orchestra conducted by Paul Ingram

16 February 2024 St Alfege Church, 3 Greenwich Church St., London, SE10 9BJ

St Paul's Sinfonia

Alison Hughes (clarinet)

Andrew Morley (conductor) 

14 October 2022 Lewes Town Hall, Fisher Street, Lewes BN7 2QS

Alison Hughes (solo clarinet), Ian McCrae, conductor and the Lewes Concert Orchestra