Jacques Merrer presented a delightful master class this afternoon filled with wonderful performances from four young clarinetists with great focus on musicality and performance.
The first performer played Widor’s Introduction and Rondo. This exciting concert piece was played with passion, technical agility, and beautiful phrasing. Merrer worked with her, phrase by phrase, to refine aspects of musicality and overall effectiveness of the performance.
Prior to the start of the next performer, the Rondo tempo of the third movement of Mozart’s Concerto was immediately discussed. Merrer shared his view that the rondo should not be too fast at around quarter note = 82. The light, dance-like style was addressed immediately, which created a much livelier performance. Insight on historical accuracy versus modern performances of articulation was also addressed.
William Bolcom’s Concerto, Movement II was next and was played quite delicately with its long and beautiful phrases. To help achieve more fluidity, Merrer encouraged the performer to play as a singer. Connections between the large leaps improved greatly!
The last work was Cahuzac’s Arlequin which had exuberant character with great technical demands. Simplicity in following the instructions written in the music was stressed, as well as anchoring certain notes to help with the technique.
This master class was quite enjoyable to listen to with Merrer’s laid back demeanor, yet strong passion for the music.
–Notes by Dr. Jackie McIlwain
Dr. Jackie McIlwain is the Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Southern Mississippi. She currently plays with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Meridian Symphony Orchestra.