This morning’s concert in the Shaver Theater featured two ensemble performances by the Fort Lewis Clarinet Choir and the Coro de Clarinetes del Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico (Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico Clarinet Choir).
The Fort Lewis performance debuted a delightful new arrangement by Dr. Joshua Mietz (Fort Lewis College, San Juan College) of the Beethoven String Quartet No. 1 Op. 18. This early work of Beethoven (actually the second quartet he composed), was written between 1798 and 1800 and underwent many revisions. The Fort Lewis Clarinet Choir performed three of the four movements, including the lovely second movement, which was inspired by the tomb scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This performance showed how the clarinet quartet so easily and readily adapts string quartet literature. The Fort Lewis Clarinet Choir demonstrated this well through use of the bass clarinet and alto clarinet, showcasing the many colors of the clarinet family.
Preceding the second half, Lisa Canning did a pop-up interview with clarinetist Kathleen Jones (Principal Clarinet, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, professor emeritus Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico). Ms. Jones spoke of the massive fundraising by the Coro de Clarinetes and the impressive support of the community that enabled the choir to attend ClarinetFest14. When asked what in her career she still wished to accomplish, Ms. Jones charmingly replied, “Sleep!”
The Coro de Clarinetes presented a passionate and energetic performance. The first two pieces featured lovely vocals by member Yurina Berrios and guiro by Víctor Carrión. Throughout the performance, the group maintained a lovely, cohesive sound, good balance, and fine rhythm. The communication was excellent across the conductor-less ensemble. While much of the repertoire was Puerto Rican-inspired, the group premiered a new work by Alberto Guidobaldi, Three-Minute Rag. The Guidobaldi featured jazzy E-flat solos by Janice Rivera, and a solid bass line led by Juan Soto. The performance was well received and elicited an encore, which the Coro happily supplied. Their enjoyment of playing clarinet and making music was obvious and contagious!
–Notes by Nora Shaffer
Nora Shaffer, a recent DePaul University graduate (CER ‘14, MM ‘12), is a passionate performer and dedicated teacher in the ChicagoLand area. Additionally, she is Principal and E-flat Clarinetist with the Lake Effect Clarinet Quartet.