What do Nigel Lawson and Charles Mackerras have in common?
What do Nigel Lawson and Charles Mackerras have in common? Or James MacMillan and Stephen Poliakoff? – the answer is excellent musical taste! They all chose Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet for one of their discs on Desert Island Discs. Charles chose the Clarinet Quintet for his second appearance on Desert Island Discs in 1999 with Sue Lawley. He had chosen the Clarinet Concerto for his first appearance in 1959 with Roy Plomley. Why? There are two reasons. The first is simple domestic diplomacy – Charles’s wife Judy was a clarinettist. The met when they were both (he was an oboist) playing in the Sadler’s Wells orchestra in the 1950’s. The second reason is that both pieces are extraordinary late works written for the clarinettist Anton Stadler. The likelihood is that they were originally written for the basset clarinet. This is a kind of hybrid between a clarinet and the slightly lower and darker basset horn. It has lower notes than a clarinet, but the concerto and the quintet go as well on both. Mozart was intoxicated by the beauty of Stadler’s playing and produced two of the best loved of all classical works for him. The fact that Mozart wrote them shortly before he dies adds pathos to the beauty.
100 years later another great composer meets another great clarinettist. Brahms came across Richard Mühlfeld and again, inspired by an individual player created a suite of works for him – the Clarinet Sonatas, the Clarinet Trio with violin and piano, and the fabulous Clarinet Quintet. Totally different from the Mozart, this has dark and mysterious shades and romantic outbursts. It requires brilliant string players as well as solo clarinet so we are particularly lucky to have members of the Scottish Ensemble with us for this concert. Matthew Hunt will do his own impression of Anton Stadler and Richard Mühlfeld!
James Waters vlog
Lunchtime Concert, Scottish Ensemble
Mon 8 Oct 2018: 1pm Perth Concert Hall