Thursday, August 13, 2009

Porto: Day 3.5 al fine (by John Scott)

The finals of the High School Competition was a real pleasure to hear. Seven finalists were selected representing Portugal, Mexico and China. They played the Khatschaturian/Kovacs Hommage along with the second movement of the Bernstein Sonata. First, second and third place winners were all from Portugal – Carlos Ferreira, Sara Araujo and Diogo Ferreira. The standard of playing was exceptional. Congratulations to all, but especially to those winners who are such great ambassadors of clarinet culture in Portugal.

The concert this evening (Wednesday) was soloists with the Banda de Musica Melres, “the blackbirds.” Weber to McAllister, and much in between represented. All of the soloists were fine players and performers as well. Bob Spring and Eddie Vanoosthuyse introduced an exciting new work for two clarinets and band, Freebird.

I must at this point correct information from an earlier writing. All of the bands here are from Portugal. This is obviously a nation that prides itself on wind and percussion playing. The recent resurgence of interest in community, semi-professional and professional bands in the USA has given me great pleasure. Here the movement never stopped.

Programs have arrived. I can now report that the Cavalleria Rusticana performed by Pascual Martinez was identified as being Op. 86 by one C. delle Giacoma.

This morning the Officers of ICA played a variety of works; Diane Barger , Fantasy Trio, Op. 26 by Muczinski; John Cipolla, Gra by Carter, Keith Koons, Three Pieces by Stravinsky, Gary Whitman, Ballad for Clarinet, Harp and Orchestra (arr. piano) Ewazen and Lee Livengood, Sonata by Poulenc. All of you need to know that the ICA is the hands of fine musicians. How fortunate can we be? I must also take the time to congratulate pianist Melissa Livengood, resident ICA Board of Directors collaborative pianist. Thanks to you for your stellar playing.

It’s about time to finish my writing from ClarinetFest 2009. In a few hours I will heading home and missing the last full day of activities. Yes, there were some glitches in organization, and yes, the clarinet playing and music making has been a joy. Just in the last 24 hours I heard a brilliant 14 year old and spoken with Guy Deplus. The world of the clarinet goes on thanks to all of you who love this strange and beautiful instrument. Thank you Carlos and Antonio for a wonderful week in Porto.

The weather is still beautiful. Warm days, cool night, breeze from the ocean . . .

Can weather be bottled? No, but memories can.

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