6 August 2010

Two premier musicians who started playing together in the early 1990s are bonding on stage again for the first time in more than a decade.

Peter Jenkin, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra's principal clarinet, and virtuoso pianist Stephanie McCallum will join forces for a compelling performance of The Clarinet at the Opera at The Con on Monday 16 August.

"It is the first concert we have done together for over 10 years so it is a bit like old friends getting together," commented Peter. "You sort of start where you left off, yet for both of us there has been a wealth of experience in between."

Jenkin will perform Donatoni's solo clarinet piece Clair 1980 in two contrasting movements. Stephanie McCallum joins him on stage for a lavish interpretation of Verdi's favourite opera La Traviata.

Jenkin and McCallum began performing in the early 1990's as part of Roger Woodward's Sydney Spring Festival of Contemporary Music. They later toured Europe as part of the Alpha Centauri Ensemble, and were also founding members of the renowned new music group Sydney Alpha Ensemble.

"Having played more performances of La Traviata than I care to admit, I have often had thoughts about how arias and vocal cadenzas might be done," said Jenkin.

"Verdi's Fantasia on the Opera La Traviata is my chance. Written in 1865, it takes the major themes of Alfredo and Violetta through a series of virtuosic variations, ending in a fireworks version of the Brindisi.

Many works of this nature using popular operatic themes were written around this time."

Sonata in E flat Major, Op. 120 is among Brahms' very final compositions featuring detailed, sensitive structures emanating from a mature master. The Clarinet works were all composed for the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld, who was the Principal Clarinet in the court of the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. They were premiered in 1894 by Mühlfeld with Brahms at the piano.

SCRIABIN (Trans. JENKIN) Three Preludes from Op. 11 and Op. 15 will present Jenkin with different challenges from a traditional repertoire.

"You might have to rival the vocal qualities of a singer or the agility of a violin or piano. I first heard these on a CD of arrangements that Larry Combs (formerly principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony now retired) produced some 20 years ago,' he said.

"I then got interested in the pieces generally and downloaded all the Preludes via iTunes. In each case the transcription is easy as the preludes I have chosen have a strong melodic line in the right hand and it is simply a matter of teasing that out and putting it on the Clarinet."

"They are very beautiful works and putting them on two instruments highlights the beautiful melodic line."

When Monday 16 August 6.00pm

Where Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Tickets $15 full, $10 concession (including Friends of The Con) or via City Recital Hall, Angel Place 1300 797 118

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 09283438105b45310d033035543626272a09380a371d3513227d2530