Monday, January 19, 2009

Paris Mécanique

Yesterday we went to another chamber music concert at the same old theater that we went to in December. Again, I subjected Kristen to clarinet music, this time by the Trio di Clarone (Sabine Meyer with husband Reiner Wehle and brother Wolfgang Meyer) as well as guests Michael Riessler (also clarinet) and Pierre Charial on mechanical organ. If you're not familiar with this instrument, it's what you might expect to see at a fairground or a European pedestrian zone, not really in a high-brow concert. Basically, the music is stamped onto large sheets of paper that are read into the organ while the player turns a wheel to pump air and progress the music.
Tonight's program was a dedication to early 20th century French dancehall and jazz-inspired pieces, so it featured works by members of 'Les Six' and others, as well as some virtuosic compositions by Michael Riessler and some crowdpleasers by Leroy Anderson. The playing was all on a high level, as can be expected by musicians of this caliber. At times, everything seemed a bit hectic -- many of the pieces segued into each other without time for applause, the mechanical organ meant that everything had to be played above a certain volume threshold, and there was no intermission (as a clarinet player myself, that was one of the things that impressed me most -- you try playing for 90 minutes straight!). For my taste, it could have used a few more quiet moments, such as in the sublime Sonata for two clarinets by Milhaud or the Three Pieces for clarinet by Stravinsky, but I guess the excitation was in the spirit of the roaring twenties.


dqjkin2000 said...

We also went to a nearby bar before the concert and ordered hot chocolate, and received two cups of what I believe was melted chocolate.

Tom Z said...

Subjecting my daughter to an evening of clarinet music? How could you Ben?
Sounds like hot chocolate is just that. Hot gooey melted chocolate. Appetito-buono!