Alcides and Heather.
The recital opened with a delightful performance of Alexander Grechaninov’s Sonata No. 1 for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 161 by Dmitry Perevertailenko (clarinet) and Seong Eun (Grace) Kim (piano). The work was enjoyable, oscillating between a jolly and playful nature to a more melancholy yet still comedic one. Especially beautiful was the second movement, Canzona. The third movement contained many false endings that left the audience wondering how it would close.
Next up was Buffet Crampon and Vandoren Artist Alcides Rodriguez of the Atlanta Symphony. He was joined by Gail Novak at the piano performing the Widor Introduction and Rondo, which was not listed on the program. Alcides’ command of the technique was evident, as was his beautiful tone, especially at piano dynamics. His performance was extremely well received by all.
Next Alcides was joined by Heather Rodriguez (Rodriguez Musical Services) for Ponchielli’s Il Covegno. Their tones blended exceptionally well and they made this tricky work seem effortless. Bravo.
The recital closed with a work by Thomas Drury, Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano. Thomas Josenhans, clarinet (Chair-University of Evansville), was joined by the composer at the piano. The first movement, “Driving but buoyant” was in ternary form and had a wonderful imitative quality. The second movement, “Quite slow but with a lilt” started with a beautiful (possibly Irish) folk song that then transformed into an anxious and dissonant section. Another three-part form, the melody returned to be performed by the piano and ending positively. The third movement was a jig that had running triplets before becoming fragmented and imitative once more. The piece was performed with enthusiasm and would work well on recitals for students and professionals alike.
–Notes by Dr. Dawn Marie Lindblade
Dr. Lindblade is the Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Central Oklahoma and is a Clinician at Clarinet Pro Workshops, Austin Texas.
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.