What an amazing recital! This performance offered audiences a chance to hear many different selections showcasing the different timbres and extended techniques of clarinet. Unfortunately Sergio Reyes was unable to attend so the first performance was the Invisible Duet by Fredrik Högberg, executed from memory. This work is performed with a prerecorded track and has the soloist walk onstage with the clarinet in its case so it is assembled as part of the show. The performer is then called to speak the single line, “Meditation begins.” The meditation is quickly over and the performer is off to the races. This piece truly is a stage production that seems based on the premise that the clarinetist is playing a game trying to beat the level titled “Invisible Duet.” At the completion of the clarinet part, the voiceover track says, “Invisible duet complete. Well done.” The performer then walks off the stage as the track concludes.
Second on the program was Bug by Bruno Mantovani performed by contemporary music specialist Spencer Prewitt. This performance was virtuosic and demanded flutter tonguing, timbre trills, and quartertones from the performer. Prewitt played with fire under his fingers and definitely depicted the imagery evoked by the title.
Radovan Cavallin Zerjal closed the recital with three works: Pastoral Fantasy for Solo Clarinet by Croatian-born New York native Božidar Kunc, Monolog for Solo Clarinet by Andjelko Klobučar dedicated to Zerjal’s father, and 11 per 1 in 1 for Solo Clarinet by Dubravko Detoni dedicated to the performer. Zerjal’s stage presence and artistry captured the audience from the moment he walked onstage. His first piece truly highlighted his sotto voce range and dynamic dramaticism while subsequent works displayed his ability to flutter tongue while singing, circular breathe, and use body language for dramatic effect.
All three of these performers displayed extreme technical mastery while also making evident their compelling passion and individual musical statements.
–Notes by Senior Airman Jennifer M. Daffinee
Jennifer is a member of the United States Air Force Band of the West and is also finishing her DMA at the University of North Texas with Kimberly Cole Lluevano.