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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000602.txt from 1999/04

From: "David B. Niethamer" <>
Subj: [kl] Caracas Clarinet Quartet in Washington D.C.
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 22:46:50 -0400

Last Thursday I had the privilege to hear the Caracas Clarinet Quartet
live in a concert sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank in
Washington D.C. (US). I've heard their CD's, and was particularly
interested to hear them perform some of the repertoire from those CD's in
a concert setting. An added bonus was the appearance of clarinetist and
saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera.

Let me start by saying that the Caracas Quartet plays on a very high
level - as well as any string quartet, for example. Their ensemble and
intonation are excellent. All four players had their moments "in the sun"
in this concert, and all played with great skill and musicianship. Yet
for the most part this concert was about the melding of their talents
into the unified whole of the quartet. A particular highlight throughout
the concert was the Eb playing of Jorge Montilla. His musicianship, tone,
and intonation on this notoriously difficult instrument were a wonder to
the ear.

The first half of the concert consisted of three works from the Quartet's
CD, "Aires Tropicales" - "Primavera Porte=F1a" by Astor Piazzolla (arranged=

by Jorge Montilla), "Cuarteto Latinoamericano para Clarinetes" by the
Venezuelan composer Aldemaro Romero, and "Aires Tropicales" by Paquito
D'Rivera. Of particular interest was Carlos Bello's sotto voce solo in
the Fandango movement of the Romero.

"Aires Tropicales" was written by Paquito D'Rivera for the Aspen Wind
Quintet, and later re-orchestrated by the composer for five clarinets.
Like the other music in this program, it is a pleasant and engaging
piece, based on folk songs and rhythms of the Latin American countries.
I've enjoyed it many times on the CD that bears it's name. I was struck
in this live performance by how artful the writing for the various
clarinets is - no one should mistake its immediate appeal for lack of
musical depth, or quality of writing. It is a first class piece of music,
written by a very talented and thoughtful composer. Paquito D'Rivera
joined the Quartet for this performance. This was my second opportunity
to hear Mr. D'Rivera in concert. He plays with beautiful sound, great
control and wonderful musicianship, always appropriate to the setting. He
plays a Rossi rosewood clarinet.

After a short intermission, the Quartet returned to play works by
Villa-Lobos, Paquito D'Rivera, and Gershwin. Gershwin's "Three Preludes"
was an arrangement by Franco D'Rivera for clarinet quartet and saxophone,
played in this instance by Paquito D'Rivera. The arrangement was
interesting, and very artfully done to exploit the various instrumental
timbres. It goes without saying that the playing was the equal of the

I haven't had this much fun at a concert in a long time. Good music, fine
performances, in the intimate auditorium of the Inter-American
Development Bank. For those who'd like to hear the Quartet's CD's, visit
Gary van Cott's web site:


"Aires Tropicales" is published in both the Woodwind Quintet and Clarinet
Quintet version by International Opus.


David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony

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