ClarinetFest began with a gathering of all in the Casa da Musica in Porto for registration at 1:00 p.m, and at 3:00 p.m. and at 4:00 and . . . , well you get the idea. Through a series of mishaps, registration did not take place as planned. We are all register beginning tomorrow morning. One never knows what causes these things, but running any sort of conference brings its own set of problems. As Miss Scarlet said "tomorrow is another day."
In spite of all this, what really counts did happen. The opening concert tonight began at 9:30 p.m. The Orquestra do Norte conducted by Antonio Saiote performed with three clarinetists. David Silva performed Weber's Concerto No. 1 Op. 73 in a brilliant manner playing flawlessly - "that's the way it goes" as we would say. Second on the program was a performance by Selmer artist Phillipe Berrod who played Rossini's Introduction, Theme and Variations - brilliant technique is the word of day - a bit too fast for my taste - would that I had the technique to bring it off in such a dazzling manner. The program closed with David Krakauer playing several klezmer solos with all panache one would want - an encore with Krakauer, Berrod and Maestro Saiote closed the evening - soul music!
Yes, I did say conducted by Antonio Saiote. One of Portugal's greatest clarinetists and clarinet teachers is also a fine conductor. Tomorrow when I see him to congratulate the maestro I'll be sure to ask him if he uses a #3.5 or a #4 baton. Bravo Antonio.
The temperature holds in the mid 80's with wonderful cooling in the evening. O blessed day . . . more tomorrow. Registered or not the music will go on.