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Louis Langrée, Conductor
Richard Stoltzman, Clarinet
Avery Fisher Hall
By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 24, 2003
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
Overture to Don Giovanni, K.527 (1787)
Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K.622 (1791)
With Mr. Stoltzman's own cadenza
Symphony No. 35 in D major, K.385 ("Haffner") (1782)
Richard Stoltzman has always been one of my favorites, a jazz clarinetist as well as a classical clarinetist. I have seen him perform at Caramoor and Tanglewood in years past. I own and frequently listen to his CD's. His presence on this program, for me, was an enormous plus and worth the extreme difficulty in acquiring this ticket. Coincidentally to this appearance at Avery Fisher Hall, Mr. Stoltzman was previously awarded the esteemed Avery Fisher Prize, the first wind player to receive this award, in 1986. He performs with jazz, pop, new music artists, and classical orchestras and ensembles worldwide. Mr. Stoltzman is also a Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef and resides in Massachusetts.
Overture to Don Giovanni, composed the night before the opera's premiere in 1787, was inherently pomp and excitement, with the resonance of welcoming the Mostly Mozart Season with its new Music Director, Louis Langrée, who was humorous and effervescent, welcoming traditional and first-time classical music fans to this concert. Maestro Langrée is also Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège in Belgium.
Clarinet Concerto in A major showcased Mr. Stoltzman's soft and soaring clarinet, transporting the audience with endless extensions, with Mr. Stoltzman appearing to cease breathing. The Allegro was definitely "non troppo". These whispering notes could be heard throughout Fisher Hall, as Maestro Langrée and Mr. Stoltzman seduced this eclectic audience (tickets were free, but scarce). Mr. Stoltzman deeply bowed in appreciation of the accolades.
The Haffner Symphony was commissioned for Mozart by the Haffner family of Salzburg. Mozart reluctantly wrote this Symphony at the same time he was marrying Constanze Weber. I found this piece to be uplifting, spiritual, and highly structured. There was no melancholia, and a danceable Menuetto, with passages reminiscent of bravura ballet, was also included. The wild, percussive strings in Presto were dramatic and celebratory. Clearly, this was Mozart, during his happiest moments, inspired by his marriage and renowned success.
I look forward to seeing Maestro Langrée conducting again and to hearing Mr. Stoltzman in concert and in jazz venues. He is truly a Renaissance artist.