ClarinetFest 2014 prides itself on showing outstanding clarinet ensembles and chamber groups from across the United States and the world, and this afternoon’s recital at Shaver Theater was no exception. The Memphis Clarinet Quartet, comprised of students from the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, provided the opening performance, while a clarinet choir from Tara Winds, an adult group of performers centered in Atlanta, Georgia, provided the lion’s share of the afternoon’s musical selections.
Memphis opened the recital with Jack Cooper’s Three Movements. The four players were very attentive to one another, with many varieties of coordination seen in their bodies and instruments from the audience. The group seemed very comfortable with itself, and it would be a great pleasure to hear them again in the future.
Tara Winds took the stage in matching blue polo shirts, with a confident demeanor to boot. Their hilarious rendition of Julius Fucik’s March of the Gladiators was a great introduction for their ensemble. The group sported a delightful blend of high and low timbres that were both highly noticeable and easily blended together in the ear. Other highlights of their performance included an unpublished arrangement of Franz Lizst’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. Tara’s very own Dickson Grimes provided the interesting orchestration, which made heavy use of all auxiliary instruments, as well as the B-flat clarinets. Tara’s two conductors, each taking the baton for half of the program, displayed great skill in addition to their performers. It is clear that some hard work has been done in Georgia!
–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.