Culture Buff

Mozart’s Clarinet

21 March 2020

9:00 AM

21 March 2020

9:00 AM

A couple of friends have nominated it as music they would like played at their funerals. I’m not into programming my own funeral, even if the current plague means it may be closer. But I do understand the attraction of the Adagio movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (K. 622). It is achingly beautiful and does have a valedictory air about it; not surprisingly, since Mozart, already ill, died two months later. The clarinet was, at that time, a relatively new orchestral instrument. In any case, Mozart wrote it not for the clarinet we now know, but for the basset clarinet. From 30 April, if public concerts are permitted by then, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra will provide a rare opportunity to hear the concerto as Mozart intended it, played on a basset clarinet by Craig Hill.

Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto is widely regarded as one of the finest written for any solo instrument; it has been much used on movie sound tracks like Out of Africa. The Brandenburg has started the year strongly with its cracking Vivaldi Venice concert with French harpist Xavier de Maistre. It would be one of many disappointments if these Mozart’s Clarinet concerts in Melbourne, Parramatta and Sydney cannot proceed. Perhaps ABC Classic FM and/or television can pay an adequate broadcast fee for the program to be rehearsed and performed in a studio, obviating the loss of these performances. In the meantime, don’t panic, there’s no need yet to be planning your funeral music.

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