Munster Musical Trust's selection
TONY COOPER Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music continues its season this Saturday, January 13, with a concert at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, by three up-and-coming young musicians selected by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust to represent them in the current season.
Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music continues its season this Saturday, January 13, with a concert at the John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich (7.30pm), by three up-and-coming young musicians selected by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust to represent them in the current season.
Cerys Jones (violin), Timothy Orpen (clarinet) and Ouri Brnchi (piano), playing pieces which are rarely performed nowadays: Bartók's Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, the clarinet trio by Armenian composer, Khatachurian, the clarinet suite by French composer, Darius Milhaud and Stravinsky's witty and entertaining suite from L'Histoire du Soldat.
The Bartók piece was written for American jazz clarinettist Benny Goodman who gave the first performance of it in New York with the violinist Joseph Szigiti and the pianist Andre Petri in 1938.
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While there is an influence of jazz in the work, each of the movements is clearly based on Hungarian folk dances.
Although Khachaturian was born in Armenia he spent most of his life in Moscow where he studied cello before turning to composition.
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His most successful music was written for the cinema, but he also wrote symphonies, concertos and chamber music and his clarinet trio being played at this concert is one of his most appealing and tuneful chamber pieces.
His most popular work in the West is almost certainly his ballet Spartacus.
The piece by Milhaud is jazzy throughout. Born in Aix-en-Provence, he moved to Paris where he fell in with a group of composers, including Poulenc and Honegger, who became universally known as Les Six - an unconventional bunch who developed a light-hearted style. Milhaud, however, was especially associated with poets and writers and overtly embraced the jazz idiom.
He was a prolific composer and composed in all forms of music and combinations of instruments. His clarinet suite is a good example of his collaboration with the renowned French playwright, Jean Anouilh, whose play, La Voyageur Sans Bagages (1937), was also adapted as a film. The suite is taken from the incidental music.
Exiled from Russia in 1918 by the first world war and the Russian Revolution, Stravinsky (in collaboration with poet CF Ramuz) devised The Soldier's Tale, a piece of music theatre to be “read, played and danced”. The anchorman is a narrator and the stage characters a soldier, the devil and a princess. The chamber band comprised clarinet, bassoon, cornet, trombone, violin, double-bass and a one-man percussion-kit, a far cry from the massive orchestra required for The Rite of Spring of 1913.
Stravinsky later arranged his original version in the form of a suite for violin, clarinet and piano, which is the final work being played in this concert.
Tickets £10, students £5, from Prelude Records, St Giles' Street, Norwich; 01603 628319