Orfeo amb Clarinet*

October 11, 2009

jose This site has already flagged the extraordinary young clarinetist José Franch-Ballester. If I’m right about his artistry, those of you within reach of Le Poisson Rouge will want to go hear him there on this coming Tuesday. He’s doing a concert with a pianist about whom I hear good things, Adam Neiman, who will also play a Chopin Ballade on his own. Last time I heard Mr. Franch-Ballester, the clarinetist from Valencia did the best Poulenc Sonata (with Anna Polonsky) that I have ever heard. Now he is going to play it with Mr. Neiman — who also, as composer, has contributed the piece that is opening the program, about which he tells me:

The Two Elegies for Clarinet and Piano are actually my own arrangements of my Two Elegies for Voice and Piano which I wrote 10 years ago. The original songs are lyric, mystical, and powerful vocalises, and I maintained the simplicity of the original vocal line while making it truly idiomatic for the clarinet. Both works are emotional and spiritual journeys captured in sound, and they are very close to my heart.

The concert’s at 7:30 p.m., and here’s the program:

Adam Neiman: Two Elegies for Clarinet and Piano (world premiere)
Chopin: Ballade No. 4
Brahms: Sonata No. 2
Arturo Márquez: Sarabandeo
Poulenc: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
Kenji Bunch: Two Pieces from Cookbook

* That’s Valencian for Orpheus with Clarinet.

True Story

October 2, 2009


Cab driver: So, how much did it cost to attend Juilliard?

Friend: Oh, about $27,000 back when I was there.

Cab driver: You paid $27,000 to PLAY PIANO?!?!??!?

As told by Anna Polonsky, based on a friend’s experience

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