Saturday, January 30, 2010

Clarinet at the Grammys: Paquito D'Rivera and Derek Bermel

The 52nd annual Grammy Awards are tomorrow, and we thought we'd take a look at the clarinet-related nominations.

Clarinetist and composer Paquito D'Rivera has been nominated in two categories: "Best Classical Crossover Album" for his new album JaZZ-ClaZZ, and "Best Instrumental Composition" for the track "Borat in Syracuse" on the same album. JaZZ-ClaZZ is the result of a collaboration between D'Rivera and Sabine Meyer's Trio di Clarone. Listeners familiar with D'Rivera's composition Aires Tropicales for woodwind quintet will recognize several of the movements (including "Dizzyness" and "Vals Venezolano") arranged here for clarinets.

The January 27, 2010 edition of PRI's "The World" included a nice feature on Paquito D'Rivera including an interview and audio clips from the album. Listen to streaming audio or download the podcast here.

Syracuse University has posted an article about the commissioning and premiere of "Borat in Syracuse" by D'Rivera and SU’s Morton B. Schiff Ensemble.

Another Grammy nomination goes to Gil Rose, Derek Bermel and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in the category "Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (With Orchestra)" for Bermel's performance of his own Voices, for Solo Clarinet and Orchestra.

Here's the full list of nominees from the Grammy Awards website. Best of luck to our clarinet friends tomorrow!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

ClarinetFest 2009 Videos

If you were like us and didn't make it to ClarinetFest 2009 in Porto, Portugal this past summer, you are probably pretty curious as to what you missed out on. Fortunately, a few individuals and one of the participating bands (ARMAB-Apresentacao da Banda e da Vila da Branca) have uploaded several videos on YouTube, giving us a peek into some of the performances held at the eye-catching modern concert hall, Casa da Música. For a full listing of programs, events, and to get a glimpse of the concert venue, check out the official ClarinetFest 2009 site here. Some of the featured soloists with the ARMAB band include:

Bass clarinetist Sauro Berti performing three movements of Jan Hadermann's "Spotlights on Bass Clarinet."

Steve Cohen performing "Brooklyn Bridge" by Michael Daugherty.

The band arrangement of Amilcare Ponchielli's crowd-pleasing "Il Convegno" features soloists Horácio Ferreira and Joao Pedro Santos.

Other videos from the festival include a performance of Debussy's "Premiere Rhapsody" by the High School Competition winner, Carlos Ferreira.

Last, but not least, this next video shows a unique ensemble consisting of a singer, guitarist, and clarinet quartet. Despite the shaky filming, the video manages to capture the excitement and merriment of both performers and audience.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Benny Goodman and Red Norvo (1960)

This great clip was uploaded in 2006 and has accumulated nearly 100,000 views. It features early jazz vibraphonist Red Norvo and Benny Goodman. Details about the video from uploader WhenSwingWasKing:

"The camera catches the jumping 10-piece group Goodman led from 1959-1961 (built around the Red Norvo Quintet), but in this clip, the spotlight stays firmly on Benny and Red. "The World is Waiting For the Sunrise" was an early Goodman showcase in 1934, and was memorably re-recorded by BG with Mel Powell in 1942 (for Commodore). Benny was still playing this number brilliantly in the 1980s!"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Clarinet Videos: Best of 2009

Since this is the time for top-ten lists, we have compiled our own list of our ten favorite clarinet YouTube videos of the year. A few of the videos are from late 2008 since we didn't compile a list for last year. Some of these videos are live performances, some are recordings, and some are... well, why don't you just see for yourself!

Bernhard Crusell - Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in F minor, Op. 5, mvt. III, performed by Eric Hoeprich and the Kölner Akademie

This is a selection from the Kölner Akademie's recent CD release Bernhard Crusell:Klarinettenkonzerte. The recording includes Crusell's three clarinet concerti as played by Eric Hoeprich on a copy of one of Crusell's clarinets, backed by the Kölner Akademie ensemble, also using historical instruments. For listeners unaccustomed to the sound of period clarinets, the difference in tone from the modern clarinet can sometimes be jarring; here, though, everyone will enjoy the beautiful sound Hoeprich achieves on the early 19th-century clarinet. The historical instruments truly enhance the music, and the result is stunning. Read a review of the CD here.

Michael Han Kim - Stravinsky, Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet

Only 13 years old in this video, Korean prodigy Michael Han Kim emerged on the YouTube scene in 2008 with a list of other performances steadily growing. Han Kim, born in Seoul in 1996, began playing the clarinet at the tender age of 7 and has won several prizes in competitions throughout Korea and Japan. Visit his YouTube channel at "michaelhankim" to find more of his videos and detailed information about this budding clarinetist.

Artheme Swallows his Clarinet

The text at the beginning states: "Artheme Swallows his Clarinet was produced in 1912 by France's short-lived Eclipse company. Few Eclipse films survive; when this delightful comedy was found, the print was decomposed along the edges and the end had melted away. Ten years later, another print miraculously surfaced, free of rot but very choppy. This edition is digitally reconstructed from both, almost frame by frame." Read more about this short film here.

Pop music covers:
Lady Gaga's Poker Face on Bass Clarinet

One of the most viewed clarinet videos of the year, InstrumentManiac's cover of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" is ... well, it's something. YouTube is full of videos of young clarinetists performing their favorite pop songs, and most are, frankly, pretty painful to watch. This video, though, has something special. Maybe it's the aviator shades, maybe it's the cheesy green-screened backgrounds, or maybe it's Lady Gaga's pop charisma coming through. This player's other popular YouTube videos include covers of Rihanna's "Disturbia" and a song from the Twilight movie.

Lou Reed - Perfect Day - Accordion and Clarinet Cover

Another great cover uploaded this year is moshezuchter's clarinet and accordion version of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day." The sound isn't perfect, and the accordionist's head is cut off in the video, but it really is charming (especially if you know the original song).

BIRSoutheastTech - Clarinet Care and Maintenance

This video covers the basic elements of assembly, care, and maintenance of the clarinet. It is well-done with clear instructions and great photos and video examples. This video would be useful for band directors with beginner clarinets, parents with a rental or newly purchased clarinet for their child, or anyone that is attempting to learn clarinet without a teacher. The video was created by Lucas Pemberton of the Band Instrument Repair program at Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical.

How It's Made - Rico Reeds

This interesting short video from Rico shows the process of reed manufacturing.

Buffet Clarinet Factory Tour

We're not sure of the origin of this video, but it is a beautifully shot video montage of the process of manufacturing a Buffet clarinet, set to an unidentified clarinetist playing the first movement of the Mozart Concerto on basset clarinet.

Most Daring:
Playing a Clarinet Covered in Bees

Although you might remember our post last summer about Dr. Norman Gary's daring feat, we couldn't resist adding it to our list. This unique talent (or should we say fearlessness) holds us in awe and wonder as to how he manages to avoid inhaling one of the bees! This bee wrangler definitely deserves kudos for his love of bees and playing the clarinet.

BigBandHeaven - Artie Shaw Concerto

Here is a recording of Artie Shaw (1910-2004) playing with his orchestra set to a nice slideshow of photographs. Taken from the personal record collection of Richard Hawkey, the excellent audio quality of this video is refreshing, with the warm sound inherent to vinyl records still preserved.

Because the search capabilities of YouTube are not the greatest, we may have missed a few videos. If you know of another 2009 clarinet video that you think belongs on this list, please post it in the comments section below. Happy New Year!