Ending the week of clarinet entrepreneurship was the ICA Professors Ensemble. The ensemble, led by Robert Walzel, opened the concert with the upbeat, Ronald Scott arrangement of Poco Allegro from Five Bagatelles, Op. 47 by Dvorak. Masters of their instrument, it is no surprise that these clarinetists put on a final concert that was a smashing success. The theme was light and clear, bouncing through the ensemble with ease regardless of dynamic or tessitura.
Piero Vincenti took the stage to lead the ensemble in three pieces he brought from Italy. The choir’s full sonorous sound filled the hall like a church organ during the Donizetti and Rossini arrangements by Pontini. The Klezmer rhapsody following added a wonderful color to the concert, especially in the E-flat stylings of Diane Barger who played with secure intonation and a warm tone most becoming but often absent in E-flat playing.
Of all the pieces, none were as jovial and becoming as the World Premiere of Guido Six’s arrangement of Souvenir of The Piano Man: “Grenadilla Rhapsody.” Even ensemble members Larry Guy and Julia Heinen could not contain their excitement as they bobbed and jaunted in their seats to the jazzy harmonies and rhythms. The pinnacle of surprise came when an entire section played the Rhapsody in Blue solo in a roarous smear. In an effort to respect the time of the performers, the final piece (another Six arrangement) was abbreviated. Bravo Maestros Vincenti and Walzel on a superb concert!
–Notes by Melissa Morales
Melissa Morales is a master’s student at DePaul University studying with Julie DeRoche and Larry Combs. She currently teaches at The People’s Music School and performs with The Candid Concert Opera’s Orchestra Nova and the Chicago Symphonic Winds.