Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Porto: Day 2.5 to 3.5 (August 11-12) (by John Scott)

Porto: Day 2.5 to 3.5 (August 11-12)

Let’s begin with a quick update from yesterday afternoon and evening. Belgian clarinetists Eddy Vanoosthuyse and Jun Gunds performed a great recital of music for clarinet, basset horn and piano (my apologies to the unlisted pianist) - Beethoven, Mozart, Bruch and Mendelssohn. All save the Mendelssohn Concertpiece No. 2 substitutions of the clarinet for oboe (the Prometheus Adagio), voice (“non piu di fiori” from Titus) and viola (Romanische Melodie). It all works. Beautiful playing.

Last evening closed with two programs including two bands, Banda Sinfonica da Bairrada and Banda de Musica dos Arcos de Valdevez. The litany of clarinetists included Nathan Williams, Richard McDowell, Henk Soenen, John Masserini, Stephen Vermeersch, The Stark Quartet, Christelle Pochet, Emile Pinel and Phillipe Cuper. It’s a musical who’s who and who will be.

This morning began with a recital by Nicholas Cox and pianist Artur Pereira in works by Devienne, Horne, Debussy, Macmillan, Bennett and Gregson. Cox is such a fine clarinetist and musical stylist. It is exciting to hear someone with panache – and I do mean the sort panache with good taste. For those of you look for a new lyrical and jazz influenced piece, I recommend Richard Rodney Bennett’s Ballad of Shirley Horn (Chester, 2005). Take note: Mr Cox provided his own programs, hence the details.

Part two of the recital was Pascual Martinez Forteza, second clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic along with his wife as pianist (my apologies to her, we are back to no programs). Widor, Yuste, Stockhausen and a set of variations on themes from Cavalleria Rusticana (sorry, an arrangement I did not know). Spectacular clarinet playing – tone, intonation, technique. It just doesn’t get any better at least to these ears.

Reporting on all of the events. Is not possible; too much good music in too many places. The Journal will have a full report soon.

I am off in a few minutes to judge the High School Competition at the Conservatory located a few blocks from here. All reports are that the finalists are stellar -more on that later.

Another beautiful day. Can weather be bottled?

John Scott

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