Some consider the clarinet the most lyrical of the woodwind instruments, though, it has to be said, these are more often than not, er… clarinet-players. However, some beautiful music has been composed for the instrument, as the opening of the slow movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto shows.
Because of the way it is constructed, one of the clarinet’s most frequently used assets is the ability to play rapid arpeggios and broken chords.
Benjamin Britten, when demonstrating what a clarinet could do in his The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (or Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Henry Purcell, as it is otherwise described), proved this very well.
Joy Farrall, principal clarinet with Britten Sinfonia, shows a couple of examples of how the clarinet can sound.