Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday. Mid-day in Porto (by John Scott)

Tuesday, Mid-day in Porto. Awoke to a view of sailboats on the ocean.

Today at ClarinetFest began with a beautiful performance by the Webster Trio, Leone Buyse (flutist), Michael Webster (clarinetist) and Robert Moeling (pianist). Michael's new transcription of the Debussy Petite Suite is so well written and was very well played. It is to be published soon. Buy a copy. No more to say there. The last work on their program was Birds of Paradise by Robert Sirota. It was commissioned by the Websters in honor of the 20th anniversary of both the founding of the trio and their marriage. It is a wonderfully effective piece, another fine contribution to this repertoire. Elegant playing and impeccable intonation and ensemble.

Trio(Des)concertante with Sergio Neves, clarinetist; Ana Luisa Marques, cellist; and Carisa Marcelino, accordianist concluded the first concert of the day playing works by Paulo Jorge Merreira, Carlos Marques and Carlos Marecos. The combination is really wonderful rich sound. All three of the players were outstanding. The attention to detail and nuance deserves special mention. The music is virtuosic and brilliantly played. These American ears of mine were enriched.

I spent much of the remainder of this afternoon exploring the neighborhood in a search for the Porto Conservatory facilities where the performance competitions are scheduled. The semi-finals of the Young Artist's Competition are complete with no results posted yet. I heard a bit of one of the players performance of the Francaix Theme and Variations. If what I heard is the standard, the judges has a difficult job ahead. The finals are to come as is the High School competition. The standard of playing is still on a steady rise. A model for the world economy.

Only four more concerts to go today.

We still experience problems with the organization of the conference, no program books yet, exhibits are not quite ready and . . . breath deeply and listen to wonderful music.

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