Report by Jacob Lee
D’Addario artists took to the Crafton-Preyer stage Saturday, August 6 at 2 p..m with a program almost entirely devoted to unaccompanied solos and clarinet ensembles. Matthias Müller opened the recital with an improvised solo (Solo à la Se) using a modified bass clarinet system called SABRe. The specialized equipment attached to the clarinet sent signals to a nearby laptop and produced numerous electronic effects through the theater’s sound system controlled by Müller’s movements. Following his performance, he briefly described SABRe, promising versions for all clarinets in addition to bass.
Wesley Ferreira and pianist Timothy Burns presented the impassioned “La Ultima Noche En La Casa Del Flamenco” from Kenji Bunch’s Cookbook. The piece moved between intense dances and quasi-cadenzas, the second of which instructed the pianist to beat against the piano body and the page-turner to clap flamenco rhythms behind the quasi-cadenza.
Next up were four South American clarinetists – Martin Castillos, Jose Garcia Taborda, Luis Vargas, and Javier Vinasco – collectively known as the “D’Addario South American Connection.” The group played through the music of three different Latin American composers. First was the rhythmically complex Wapango by Paquito D’Rivera, followed by arrangements of Piazzola’s Libertango and Granada’s La Flor de la Canela. Vargas arranged these last two works, which translated well to clarinet quartet and gave each member his own moment to shine.
Following the quartet, John Warren performed Nikola Resanovic’s alt.music.ballistix, appropriately accompanied by a CD track using the sounds of ’90s-era electronics. The first two movements almost exclusively stuck to either the clarinet or the tape, but the remaining half of the piece was an interesting shift between the energetic “A Balkan Dance” and the humorous “[email protected],” which ended with Warren struggling to “log in” as plainly stated by the CD track telling him, “log in incorrect,” after each clarinet lick.
Henri Bok and J. Lawrie Bloom played a selection of duets for bass clarinets beginning with the wonderfully atmospheric and chromatic Serenade composed by Nelson Ayres. The last two duos were arrangements of Thelonious Monk numbers. Round Midnight gave Bok a chance to show off the bass clarinet’s range of expression, juxtaposed by the playful and humorous Well You Needn’t.
Shulamit Ran’s Three Scenes for Clarinet Solo, expertly executed by Kimberly Luevano, was full of character as well, whether it was the tumultuous shifting between aggressive and quiet (“Bold and Dramatic”) or the beautiful chalumeau lines in the final scene (“Song”).
The concert concluded with all of the recital’s artists and additional players coming together to perform “Hill Dance” from David Avshalomov’s 3 Outside. This highly rhythmic work seemed to make a number of nods towards the klezmer style, with two vibrantly wild and extended solos on E-flat and B-flat respectively. Towards the end of the work, a final solo of sorts occurred where everyone in the choir sans basses stood up and simultaneously went all out on their respective parts.
Jacob Lee received his masters from The Ohio State University and currently works as a freelance performer in the Columbus, OH area. Offstage, Lee has presented original research on French classical-era clarinet works at various gatherings including the American Musical Instrument Society Conference and the ICA Mid-America Festival.