ClarinetFest® 2017, Day 1: Recital, Recordings and Remembrances with Stanley Drucker
Recital, Recordings and Remembrances with Stanley Drucker packed the hall in Orlando at 4:30 on Wednesday, July 26, with many audience members left standing. Drucker began the event with an engaging performance of Nicolas Roussakis’s Two Dances for Solo Clarinet. The first dance movement was a vibrant narrative, packed with intensity and effortless runs tumbling from Drucker’s fingers. The second, more playful movement was full of uneven meters and rhythms. The entirety of this work was masterfully performed.
The majority of the event was a commentary by Drucker on a variety of excerpts from the clarinet repertoire by Rimsky-Korsakov, Bartok, Debussy, Bernstein, Mozart, Brahms, Copland, Bolcom, Gershwin and Nielsen. Additionally, Drucker shared the story of the commissioning of Corigliano’s Concerto. When he approached Leonard Bernstein requesting a work, he was referred to John Corigliano. Bernstein’s request, however, was that he be the conductor of the premier in 1977, of which the audience heard the recording.
Drucker also provided insight into the long, lyrical solo in the third movement of Resphigi’s Pines of Rome. He said that although the phrases are marked piano and pianissimo, there is no time in an orchestral solo “to disappear and use it as a place to rest.” Regarding the Copland Concerto, Drucker spoke to the importance of using your own imagination. In his preparation of the piece, he consulted both Copland and Benny Goodman, for whom the piece was written. Goodman insisted syncopating the eighth notes was “no good,” while the composer found the section too dry when performed without syncopation. Drucker believes, “it’s only a question of your imagination,” and that you should play it in whichever way you prefer. Throughout the discussion, Drucker engaged his audience, being simultaneously entertaining and instructive.
-Elizabeth Rodeck, ClarinetFest writer