On the final evening at ClarinetFest 2014, we enjoyed incredible works for clarinet and orchestra. Alcides Rodriguez and Gabor Varga give a jovial opening to the concert playing Krommer’s Concerto for Two Clarinets and Orchestra, Op. 35. With bubbling lines and a beautiful blend, the duo played with poise and grace. The two clarinetists displayed great sensitivity to throughout the second movement, playing with great control and intonation over a subdued Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.
Following was Ralph Skiano with his poignant interpretation of Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsodie. The clarinet weaved its way in and around the orchestra with incredible ease, wafting through elongated phrases and impish flourishes. In these moments the interplay between soloist and and the orchestra’s principal winds was delightful, particularly with the oboist.
Taking the stage, Greg Raden performed Weber’s Concerto No. 1. His first note stilled the room with his pure sound floating high above the orchestra. The third movement was lively with delicate inflections and a variety of colors which made for a lovely contrast between themes.
Antonio Saiote gave a lively performance of Canongia’s Clarinet Concert No. 3 in E-flat. With wild technical demands, Saiote took command of the stage and played with abandon. Taking some artistic license, his virtuosic performance of Canongia’s work was a memorable performance from the night.
In a last-minute change of performers, Robert DiLutis took the stage instead of the programmed David Drosinos to perform Ben-Haim’s Pastoral Variee for Clarinet, Harp and Strings. A consummate professional and profound musician, none would have assumed he was not the originally programmed artist. In many respects, it was the most impressive performance of the evening.
A full, lush string section cued the start of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, and the final piece of the evening. Paul Cigan delivered an inspiring performance of our cornerstone work. His pianos seemed to draw you in, peering into intimate moments of repose.
–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.