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Houghton, Eric


  • Ensemble: Clarinet and Piano
  • Genre: Modern Classical
  • Grade: 5
  • Duration: 12.0 minutes
  • Catalog Number: AOS1000

"Recovery" is a four movement sonata for Clarinet and Piano.

1) Powerless
2) Lost
3) Acceptance
4) Hope

The composer writes - 

Thematically based loosely on that musical harbinger of doom, the tritone (sometimes called the diabolus in musica  - the Devil in music), Powerless begins slowly, then breaks breathlessly into a twin-melodic motif shared between clarinet and piano. The pleasant, jaunty B-section is preceded by a common musical thread used throughout the entire work - the enigmatic Losttheme. As the B-section develops, one may notice a breakdown in what could be called ‘musical reality’ in the tonality. It simply represents a typical relapse after a pleasant and more lucid period by the alcoholic or addict. After an extended clarinet cadenza resolves nothing, the powerlessness of the A-section returns with a vengeance, leaving no doubt as to where the sufferer is headed.

He is Lost, you see. For me and so many others, without help we are like those wandering about, aimlessly groping in the dark. Here too, in the B-section, the sun briefly comes out, and we can get a small taste of the joys of sobriety. Alas, relapse soon followed, and all was Lost again.

Acceptance of what I am was a crucial factor for me in finally getting sober. I simply had to accept the fact that I was an alcoholic and could never take another drink. I had failed over and over again to drink responsibly, and I had to change the way that I lived my life. I accepted this, and so far, I have been successful. The painful aspect of Acceptance is coming to terms with all the pain and suffering I caused those closest to me—the ones that love me. For me, there was plenty of sadness associated with Acceptance.

Rising rhythmically from the off-beat pulse of AcceptanceHope represents all that may be achievable in my life. An anthem to possibilities, the A-section nonetheless settles down with a stark reminder - in an instant I could be Lost again. The early days of sobriety are often filled with extremes of emotion, and manic, even bizarre behavior. With an homage to Satie, the B-section could be categorized a musical example of such mania. Upon the happy return of the A-section, we hear a cameo of that Amazing Grace theme. The coda ties together chaotic, triton-based aspects of Powerless, as the entire work screams to a finish.

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