I plan to learn and perform (and video) all 18 études from the book by that name by Paul Jeanjean over the next year.
Little is known about Jeanjean. Wikipedia has a tiny "stub" article about him. The most extensive article (very relative) about him is found on the US Marine Band site. It is quoted below in its entirety.
Paul Jeanjean (1874-1928)
Paul Jeanjean was the clarinet soloist with the French Garde Républicaine and later with the Classical Concert Orchestra at Monte Carlo. He is primarily remembered as a composer of works for the clarinet, but also composed for the bassoon, saxophone quartet, and cornet.
Probably the best known clarinet works by Jeanjean are his "Arabesques" for clarinet and piano, and his "Carnival of Venice" variations.
Jeanjean composed several étude books for clarinet besides the famous "18" (which is actually 17 plus a simple canonic duet). They are "Études Progressives et Mélodiques" in 3 books from easy to difficult, covering most tonalities.
He also composed the fairly well known "Vade-Mecum du Clarinettiste" (vade mecum is Latin for "go with me", and implies a reference book which is always with you), an exhaustive selection of purely technical finger and articulation exercises (with one haunting slow étude at the end).
But the book of 18 culminates his compositional endeavors as the most interesting and difficult of all the études he wrote for clarinet.
Though Jeanjean studied with the great Cyrille Rose, composer of the most widely used étude books for clarinet, Jeanjean's style of études are quite different from Rose. He used the musical language of his time, that of the Impressionists.
Included in the vernacular of the French Impressionists are: whole tone scales, augmented arpeggios, time signatures of expanded subdivisions such as 9/4 and 12/8, mixed meter and asymmetrical time signatures, complex rhythmical and tonal gestures including syncopation and distant key relationships. It could also be said that extreme dynamics and challenges to the instrument's range should be included, since that development was the case in all musical styles of the early 20th Century. Jeanjean succeeded in exploring all these new techniques with aplomb.
The book of 18 études also attempts to move beyond études to something more musically satisfying. While not all 18 are of musical character worthy of performance, many are.
I have performed many of these études over my career. But I have yet to play them all. My goal, which I am calling my "Jeanjean Project", is to perform them all over the next year or so. As I work on each étude, I will report what I discover about the piece, its content, musical ideas (or not), its technical challenges and how to overcome them.
I welcome feedback of any sort; including comments (hopefully constructive) about the recordings I post here or on YouTube, along with ideas or suggestions about the music and its techniques.