The series of clarinet performances found at ClarinetFest 2014 continued Thursday afternoon with two wonderful clarinet choirs at the two o’clock hour in Shaver Theater. William Blayney conducted the Northwest Clarinet Choir, a consortium of community members from Seattle, Washington. Bill O’Neil and Jonathan Guist were co-conductors of the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley Clarinet Choir, a group comprised of the combined clarinet studios of the University of Texas Pan American and the University of Texas at Brownsville. Northwest opened the concert with Blayney’s arrangement of Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. Later, the auxiliary instruments were given their heyday in Lucien Cailliet’s Fantasie for Clarinet Choir. The A-flat sopranino clarinet (played by David Gould) and the E-flat clarinet (played by Tami Horiuchi) displayed impressive, flashy technique. The group ended with a rousing arrangement of Johan Halvorsen’s Entry March of the Boyars. As a whole, Northwest displayed themselves wonderfully as a dedicated and entertaining community clarinet choir.
The UT – Rio Grande Valley Clarinet Choir began their half of the concert with the short and upbeat work Claribel by Roland Cardon. Already, their choir sounded wonderful, but the best was yet to come! A narrator took the stage as the choir performed a full-length arrangement of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67. The display of the various animals and characters by solo members of the choir, including E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, B-flat clarinet, and contrabass clarinet, were especially entertaining and faithful to the style and intention of the original work for orchestra. The choir’s hard work and attention to detail were evident in this very effective performance.
–Notes by Joel Auringer
Joel Auringer is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He currently maintains a private studio in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas metroplex, and will begin doctoral study at the University of North Texas in the fall.