Suite No. 2 (1932)
by Johanna Beyer
Beyer’s Suite No. 2, also known as Suite No. 1b, was composed (along with Suite No. 1) in 1932, and is thought to be one of Beyer’s first works. The following descriptive comments for each movement appear on the original manuscript (whether or not these were the composer’s remarks or someone else’s is unclear): I. Giocoso – “Gradual growth of tied tones;” II. Lamentation – “Tones of contrary form of perpetual motion;” III. Contrast – “Contrast of phrases: skippy=steppy.” Movement four, Accelerando, utilizes a series of metric modulations to create an ever-increasing tempo structure. All four movements are written in a freely atonal style that shows an excellent awareness of the technical and expressive possibilities of the clarinet. Beyer utilizes the full range of dynamic, articulative, and registral characteristics of the instrument, resulting in music that is playful, mournful, agitated, and virtuosic.