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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000421.txt from 1996/01

From: niethamer@-----.BITNET
Subj: Clarinet ChamberFest '96
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 09:15:54 -0500

I had the pleasure of attending the Saturday sessions of this three day
event in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at the University of North Carolina.

Alas, the schedule had been changed, so I missed Freedy Arteel's Master
Class on the Brahms Sonatas, which was presented at 9 a.m.

At 11 a.m., David Campbell gave a Master Class on the Mozart Quintet,
K.581. Three students each played one movement with a quartet from Chapel
Hill. David Campbell's comments were insightful and interesting, and
occaisionally entertaining as well. He asked the young woman who played
the first movement to "act out" the phrasing and coloring of a pair of
phrases by turning one way for the first, and the opposite way for the
second, exagerating the two characters contrasts. It worked. The second
movement was performed by a player who got about one hour's notice, due
to the absence of the scheduled player! Fine players, all - I wish I'd
thought to write down their names.

After lunch, a concert of trios was presented. Doug Miller, from
Appalachian State in Boone NC played the Zemlinsky Trio for Clar, cello,
and piano. There are some nice ideas in this piece, and the playing was
excellent, but for my money, there aren't 25 minutes worth of material
here. Still, it's nice to hear different and rarely heard repertoire.
Nathan Williams, from East Carolina U, played the Francaix
"Divertissment" for oboe, clar and bassoon, and the F minior Brahms
Sonata to end the program.

Donald Oehler, who with Kelly Burke coordinated this event, conducted a
clarinet choir session for the high school and college students present,
and a few of the "pros" joined in as well. They sounded quite good,
although I have to confess that the sound of massed clarinets is not one
of my favorites, so I didn't stick around for the end.

After dinner, Freedy Arteel and his ensemble, "Contrasts" played a
concert of the Mozart "Kegelstatt' Trio, a trio for violin, viola, and
piano by Joseph Jongen, the Schumann "Marchenerzahlungen", and the
Bartok "Contrasts". Although this is a clarinet list, I have to say that
their violist, Ervin Schiffer, was fabulous in all three works that he
played. The "solo" passages in the last mvt of the Kegelstatt were fluent
and sounded easy and elegant - no scrambling, scraping, struggling to get
through here! Mr. Schiffer must be no more than 5'2" tall, and plays a
seemingly huge viola, but with such grace and ease! Freddy Arteel plays
with a typically European (I can see the rebuttal from Dan now - no, I
will *not* submit to the blindfold test!) sound that is somewhat lighter
than most current American orchestral players. The result was a nice
blend with the string players, and a stunning 3rd mvt to the Schumann,
where the clarinetist is asked to float out a series of high E's over a
viola solo - treacherous stuff, and Arteel handled it with ease, and
beauty of sound I could only envy. Mr.
Arteel said afterwards at the reception that the ensemble has been
playing together for 25 years, and it showed in the Bartok. There are
land mines galore, but the performance was rock solid, including those
treacherous passages in the last movement where, almost literally, the
left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing (and maybe doesn't
want to know, either!).

Although it was sort of a "busman's holiday" for me, I had a great time.
Chapel Hill is a beautiful town, and Donald Oehler and Kelly Burke did a
great job of organization. Hill Hall auditorium was a nice space for
chamber music. When they do it again (you will do it again, right?!!),
anyone within a day's drive should make the effort. I was only sorry to
head home to work today. I'd have rather watched everyone else work at
today's concerts!

David Niethamer

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