Tomorrow my bass clarinet student (as well as four other clarinet students!) will be playing at the solo/ensemble contest with hopes of getting to move on to state solo contest. She (as a freshman!) is playing the piece I played my senior year. It’s the first movement of the Arpeggione Sonata by Franz Peter Schubert. The arpeggione is basically a guitar (6 strings tuned EADGBE) that is played like the cello (upright and mostly bowed). The arpeggione was a novelty instrument that fell out of fashion only 10 years after it’s creation. The arpeggione sonata was the only major work written for the instrument during it’s short stint of activity. This sonata was not even published until after the arpeggione’s disappearance. It is commonly played on cello, viola, or, in our case, bass clarinet. Starting in the early 2000s some instrument makers have taken an interest in the arpeggione, and have made a few as well. This video contains the entire sonata played on an actual arpeggione.
Now with all that history in mind, here’s the funny part. My bass clarinet student was telling all this her band director. When she told him that this sonata was the only work written for the arpeggione, he called her a hipster.