Concert 1: Clarinet in Solitude
Clarinet, like so many other orchestral instruments, often relies on being part of a larger group (whether full orchestra, a chamber ensemble, or with piano) to fulfill our harmonic potential, enrich texture, and to add depth to what we play and are able to express. In this time of quarantine and without being able to collaborate with other musicians in close proximity, finding inspiration and programming a solo concert is hard for this chamber music lover.
But I’ve decided to select pieces – old and new – that are at once close to my heart and a challenge:
The Third movement of Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Clarinet Alone (1919) influenced by ragtime with jazz-like syncopations and shifting meters;
The Garden of Love for Solo Clarinet and Boombox by Jacob T.V. with text by William Blake (2002), with a prerecorded track that riffs on William Blake’s poem by the same name;
and finally Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel Im Spiegel (Mirror in the Mirror) for Clarinet and Piano (2003), a slow-moving, meditative piece that allows time and space for introspection and stillness.
Performer: Alicia Bennett, clarinet
Isabelle O’Connell, piano
Three Pieces for Clarinet Alone, III. (1919), by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Spiegel Im Spiegel for Clarinet and Piano (2003), by Arvo Pärt (b. 1935)
The Garden of Love for Clarinet and Boombox (2002), by Jacob T.V.
Concert 2: Violin Alone: Bach Solo Sonata in A minor
Johan Sebastian Bach wrote only six works for violin alone: a set of three Sonata-and-Partia pairs. They are among the most intimate and beautifully-written works in the violin repertoire, and also believed to have been intensely personal compositions. Tonight’s concert will feature the second Sonata, which bigins with a somber Grave, continues with a perspicacious three-voice Fuga (fully utilizing Bach’s unparalleled inventiveness of counterpoint), then an Andante with a heartbeat pulse below the melody line, and finally a sprightly Allegro, suggesting an earnest acceptance of a changed world, yet with hopeful continuation forward.
Performer: Claudia Schaer, violin
Bach Sonata for Solo Violin in A minor