Saturday, 23 February 2013


“The ability to play the clarinet is the ability to overcome the imperfections of the instrument. There’s no such thing as a perfect clarinet, never was and never will be.” - Jack Brymer

A wonderful Saturday with a grateful return to routine. A lovely evening all round.

For Music Saturday a marvellous Clarinet Concerto by that master of the theatrical in music, Carl Maria von Weber  (1786-1826). Here is his Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F Minor, played by Karl Leister (Clarinet) accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Rafael Kubelik.

Weber’s compositions for woodwind instruments occupy an important place in the musical repertoire. His compositions for the clarinet, which include two concertos, a concertino, a quintet, a duo concertante, and variations on a theme (posthumously), are regularly performed today. His Concertino for Horn and Orchestra requires the performer to simultaneously produce two notes by humming while playing—a technique known as “multiphonics”. His bassoon concerto and the Andante e Rondo Ungarese (a reworking of a piece originally for viola and orchestra) are also popular with bassoonists.

The first movement of this clarinet concerto is operatic in style and scope, the middle movement quietly reflective, while the last movement is a joyous celebration of life that has a comic overtone, which nonetheless carries an undertone of the melancholy about it in some sections. The whole concerto is a masterpiece of the romantic concerto genre that provides for an enjoyable listening experience, but which is fiendishly difficult to play even for accomplished clarinetists!

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