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Rasse, François
with Piano
Composition Year: 


Track Movement(s) Duration
5. 03:11
Track Movement(s) Duration
7. 04:53
Dedicated to: 

Publishing House

Evette & Schaeffer
Publication Year: 
Catalog Number: 
E.S. 1499-I.

C.I.R.C.B. Library

Marchetti, Elisa
Acquisition Year: 


This lyrically sentimental waltz was written as a pièce de concours for the conservatoire Royal of Brussels. It is the only examination piece to have been written for the bass clarinet and used at either the Brussels or Paris conservatory in both of which the bass clarinet was not considered an independent field of study.1 As the pièces de concours served as display pieces demonstrating students' degrees of virtuosity, the limited scope and technical demands of this piece imply that the bass clarinet was not considered appropriate for, or even capable of, use as a virtuosic solo instrument. The work is dedicated to Louise (Alphonse) Bageard (1873-?), who had perhaps performed as one of six bass clarinetists in the complement of Gustav Poncelet's clarinet choir while he was a student at the Brussels conservatory.2 Bageard served as professor of clarinet at the Conservatoire Royal from 1904 until 1911.3 The dedication of "Lied" gives his this title, which indicates that the work could have been written well before its publication in Paris in 1921. It is possible that it was written during the years in which Rasse, who was director of the conservatory in Liége between 1925 and 1938, worked as a performer and conductor at the Théatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels after his completion of conservatory studies with Ysaÿe in violin and Huberti in composition and before his assignment as a harmony instructor at the Conservatoire Royal in 1920.4

"Lied" is an andante molto espressivo ninety-five measures in length. The tonal center of the piece is F using both major and minor modes. Modulations to A major and A-flat major occur, as well. The range of two octaves and a major third extends from F to a''. The upper half of the range is used slightly more than the lower half. The proportion of use are:

Extension notes 
d-flat''less than 1%

The solo part is notated in bass clef. It is the only work in this list so notated, although this system of notation was used quite frequently in orchestral bass clarinet parts written during the time of this survey and has been commonly used in solo works written in more recent years. The melody moves primarily in quarters, with only occasional eights and sixteenths. Smooth and mellifluous tone is required, but no great agility is needed. A dynamic range of p to f is indicated.

© Aber, "A history of the bass clarinet as an orchestra and solo instrument in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and an annotated, chronological list of solo repertoire for the bass clarinet from before 1945": 118-120

1 Philippe Cuper and Jean-Marie Paul, "The Paris Conservatoire Supérieur: 'Solos de Concours' and Prize Winners, The Clarinet 15, (May-June, 1988), 40-48.

2 Wilhelm Altenburg, "Die Contrabass-Klarinette von Fontaine-Besson und Poncelet's Klarinette-Concert," Zeitschrift für Instrumentbau 19, (11 November 1898), 122

3 Weston, More Virtuosi, 39

4 Sadie, New Grove, s.v. "François Rasse," by Henri Verhulst.