The first time the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra played Mozartís bittersweet Clarinet Concerto, in 1939, the soloist was Benny Goodman. Swinging cat though he was, I canít imagine Goodman playing the piece with any more soul than what we heard Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall, with Ricardo Morales doing the honors.

            There must be a million ways to approach this concerto, considering all the inflection and expression the clarinet is capable of, and the various moods of various instruments. Morales has what seems to me to be a unique style.

            At least I have never heard anyone play the concerto quite the way he did. I have never heard such quiet in the piece. At times Morales sounded as if he were barely breathing, and yet the notes were there, pure and precise. It was a glorious thing to hear.

            The Mozart is the centerpiece of a concert that begins with Ravelís ďMother GooseĒ Suite and ends with Bartokís Orchestral Suite No. 1. It is not just the centerpiece, it is the highlight. The Bartok, which the BPO is recording for a Naxos CD, is a ton of fun, clever and invigorating. The Ravel, with its relaxed poetry, is a delight. But there is just no equaling the genius of that clarinet concerto. And Morales brought it out so beautifully.

            Music Director JoAnn Falletta, conducting, got the tempi just right Ė unhurried, serene. The orchestra and Morales seemed like a natural fit.

            The first movement struck just the right wistful tone from the first bars.

             Morales is a big, steady man, and his playing reflects his demeanor. It is calm and grounded. You need an exquisite calm for this music. He gracefully navigated the musicís gentle dips and swoops.

             The Adagio is like an aria, and the way Morales played that incredible first line was breathtaking.

             Morales used to be the principal clarinet for the Metropolitan Opera orchestra and maybe some of that experience went into this. He played like a singer. One interlude that was absolutely heart melting came in the brief cadenza later in the movement, the cadenza that leads back to the opening theme.

             It was like one of those moments in opera when for a second, the world seems to stop.

             In the last movement, Mozart lightens things up a little, but Morales kept his gentle tone. He and the orchestra gave the music a lovely continuity.

             At the end, as the audience rose slowly to applaud Ė this music puts you into a kind of daze Ė there came a sweet moment: John Fullam, the BPOís principal clarinetist, emerged from the wings with a bouquet for Morales.

             The Ravel was a good preface to the Mozart. It has a quiet charm, with soft surprises and bewitching woodwind effects. One bird call is especially ingenious. There are whimsical touches from the harp, the celeste and the percussion.

            As for the Bartok, Edward Yadzinskiís program notes pointed out the BPO had never played it before, at least on the Classics series. Itís about time. Itís perfect for our orchestra, and fun for the crowd.

            The first movementís brisk, upbeat, march-like themes canít help but charm you. Kids would like this music. Bartok gets a marvelous array of creative sounds, and you get great contrasts. A buzzy trumpet sound cuts against sheer strings. There are trombone fanfares and sharp sudden trumpet solos. For a second Falletta went airborne.

            The second movement has a wonderful section where the orchestra joins in a murmur almost like the din of traffic, with the brass blasting in like car horns. Itís a wild effect. The Presto that followed was airy and springy. Fullam got his turn to solo in the Moderato, playing Bartokís lovely folk-like melody.

            This was a great night for clarinet.

 

   

17 - 20 October 2013

9th Mercadante International Clarinet Competition - VIP Antonio Tinelli, Director,  VIP Julia Heinen - President of the Jury - Winner Results coming soon

Noces (Bari), Italy

 

 

15 October 2013

CLARINET POTPOURRI with VIP Charles Neidich and Ayoka Oshima Perform Recital and Chamber Music with VIP's Alan R Kay, Michael Lowenstern, Bass Clarinet, and Students Marco Danesi, Vasko Dukovski, Saerom Kim, Yeon-Hyung Lim, Shen Liu, GeneviŤve Rivard, Weixiong Wang, Shuyue Zhao, Moon Sun Yoo at The Juilliard School (Morse Recital Hall)  

New York City

 

 

14 October 2013

Ana Catalina Ramirez Performs Oscar Navarro 1st Clarinet Concerto with the Temple University in Philadelphia Wind Ensemble 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

 

               

           

               

               

               

             

             

             

12 - 13 October 2013

9th Vandoren Clarinet Ensemble Festival at University of Illinois at Champaign - Urbana -  VIP's Mitchell Estrin and David Gould, Dr David Harris,  with Harvey Hermann, Directors

 Champaign, Illinois USA

               The Vandoren and Buffet Clarinet Ensemble Festival, held in many cities throughout the past 9 years, and the patriotic work of VIP and Performing Organization Chairman of WKA Mitchell Estrin, Professor at the University of Florida and Creative & Education Manager with the Buffet Group USA and a Vandoren Artist, and VIP Michael Skinner, President of DANSR, the US importer of Vandoren products, VIP  J David Harris, Clarinet Professor and Host from this University, VIP David Gould, Artist Manager for Vandoren USA, and Dr Caroline Hartig, who effectively hosted this great Festival along with her great Ohio State Clarinet Studio. Senior VIP and Clarinet Choir Director and Pioneer of the Clarinet Choir movement over the last 40+ years Harvey Hermann, conducted the Finale with the Mass Clarinet Choir, with Orchestral transcriptions which brought out the great homogenous sound of this ensemble format. Several visiting ensembles from all over the country gave performances both days as noted in the galleries above. 

9 - 11 October 2013

VIP Karl-Heinz Steffens, former Solo Klarinettist in the Berliner Philharmoniker, makes an incredible debut as Conductor at his Orchestra 9 - 11 October 2013 - Link below:      http://www.digitalconcerthall.com/concert/16915

 Berlin, Germany

 

3 October 2013

         

International Arts Movement Classical Music Concert with VIP Charles Neidich - The program presents renowned composer Christopher Theofanidisí newly commissioned piano quintet 'At the Still Point', inspired by T.S. Eliotís Four Quartets and Olivier Messiaenís Quartet for the End of Time. The performance featured along with Charles Neidich, clarinet, Mia Chung, piano, Elizabeth Larson and Susan Kim, violins, and Soo Bae, cello - held at the West 83 Ministry Center

New York City USA