This work was composed between January and April 1981 at the request of Gervase de Peyer and Gwenneth Pryor, who premiered it at Wigmore Hall, London on May 12, 1981.
The Sonatina is light-hearted and follows a traditional pattern of the three-movement division. The first, in classical sonata form, concentrates on the middle register of the clarinet, mainly lyrical against a rippling piano background. The second movement is an A-B-A song structure employing some of the lowest notes of the wind instrument in a long cantilena over a slow chordal accompaniment. The finale is a kind of rondo which alternates two themes in equal proportions, exploiting the upper register of the clarinet. The harmonic idiom of the whole work is obviously tonal, and, like most recent compositions of Horovitz, the Sonatina is melodically and rhythmically much influenced by jazz and other popular music. It calls for equal virtuosity from both players.
© Gervase de Peyer