|Friday 9th November at 7pm|
Glebe Music Festival
In conjunction with The Glebe Society Inc
Early in her career Deborah competed locally and internationally in London and Munich, winning numerous prizes, scholarships and awards, including national and Commonwealth ABC instrumental competitions in 1983. For over 30 years she has performed as a chamber musician most notably with her mother Lauris Elms, soprano Rita Hunter, and pianists Geoffrey Parsons, John Winther and Len Vorster. As a concerto soloist she performed with Richard Bonynge, and with Paul Dyer and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. She also worked overseas with the Fine Arts Orchestra at St Martin in the Fields and in Vietnam. She regularly broadcasts for the ABC, has recorded over sixteen CDs, and collaborates in chamber recitals often premiering especially written Australian compositions. Teaching at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Tertiary, High School and Open Academy, she is a Research Affiliate also teaching Clarinet at UNSW and her private Sydney Town Hall studio. Awarded her PhD UNSW 2014 (Practice Strategies of Elite Instrumental Musicians) she received a USYD Large Innovative Grant (2015) applying her PhD Model of Elite Practice (MEP) towards music student motivation at Conservatorium. Her 2016 publications include a Pitch Error Coding Protocol paper, co-authored with Emery Schubert, published in Music Perception (December 2016 issue). Her new CD titled Rags Bags and Tangos has been released (March) 2018 and is available on https://www.deborahdegraaff.com/ Deborah is currently working on an on-line video/pdf clarinet ‘book’ designed for teachers of clarinet and advanced students wishing to gain the most out of their practice, to be launched in the next year.
TONY WHEELER – CLARINET
Performer, composer, and teacher Tony Wheeler studied clarinet and composition at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, where he also had his first contact with Chinese traditional music. After graduating in 1982 with a B.Mus. with Distinction, he worked as a freelance player and teacher, before being awarded a scholarship to spend two years (1985-87) at the Shanghai Conservatory, studying Chinese composition, ruan and guqin. After leaving Shanghai, Tony then spent four years studying and teaching at the University of Hong Kong, before receiving a Master’s Degree in Composition for Chinese instruments. As well as maintaining a busy teaching schedule, Tony is active in a wide variety of musical genres and styles. He frequently performs on Chinese and Western instruments in a contemporary and or improvisatory context, but has also played clarinet and saxophone in major orchestras including the Queensland Symphony and Sydney Symphony, and he has had nearly 20 of his original compositions published by Wirripang.
Thomas Crome won first prize at the federal Jugend Musiziert music competition in 1977 and 1979. Crome studied with Erich Penzel at the University of Music in Cologne and took part in master classes with Peter Damm in Dresden and Barry Tuckwell in London. From 1983-2016 Crome joined the prestigious Badische Staatskapelle orchestra in Karlsruhe. Since 1987 he has taught as assistant lecturer at Badisches Konservatorium in Karlsruhe and as a guest lecturer of the DAAD at the Horn Festival in Tartu, Estonia and at the State Conservatories in Tbilisi, Georgia and Shenyang, China. He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician, playing instruments including the natural horn, the baroque horn and the alphorn, in venues across Europe, the United States, South America, East Africa, Japan and China. In 2004 Crome was granted the title of Chamber Musician by the Ministry of the State of Baden Wuerttemberg. More recently, Crome has also emerged as a conductor.
Tonya Lemoh has performed and recorded for ABC radio, Danish national radio and Danish television. She studied in Australia, USA, England and Denmark, and was faculty accompanist at The Boston Conservatory for two years, followed by an appointment as lecturer on the piano faculty at Copenhagen University. While based in Denmark, she gave master classes, adjudicated youth piano competitions, and performed regularly as soloist, chamber musician and lied accompanist in Northern Europe. She was concerto soloist with orchestras in Denmark and Bulgaria, and also performed in numerous international new music festivals in Australia, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. She has won several international prizes and awards, including first prize in Helsingor International Piano Competition and the Royal Academy of Aarhus Concerto Competition, and a Diplom d’Honneur in the International Grieg Piano Competition. She won the national Danish Radio Prize for best solo recording of the year in 2011. She has released five CDs to date, for record companies Chandos, Danacord and Dacapo Records, to international critical acclaim. Her most recent solo recording, “Harmonies du Soir”, was named CD of the Month by musicweb-international. Tonya is an AMEB examiner in piano, and is currently pursuing doctoral studies on the piano works of Australian composer Raymond Hanson.
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847): Concert Piece for Two Clarinets and Piano, No.1. Op. 113
The early nineteenth century was a significant time of change for the clarinet, including important developments in the instruments themselves, the players. abilities, and the repertoire available to clarinetists. Mendelssohn was inspired by the playing of his Bavarian friends Heinrich and son CarlBaermann,to compose two virtuosic concert pieces for clarinet, basset horn and piano, full of technically brilliant and expressive melodies. As was common in this time, the clarinet was an important instrument within the military band and this proved to be the most common form of employment available for wind players. Elder Baerman’s skill attracted the attention of the Berlin court and Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, and he was sent to be further trained in Berlin under Tausch. He served and fought in the Prussian army and was captured by the French in the battle of Jena, but escaped and made his way to Munich, where he obtained an appointment as court musician and retained that position until his retirement in 1834 when his son Carl Baermann succeeded him. In this way he was among the last generations of players who could secure appointments as court musicians rather than working full-time in the public eye, yet he was also one of the first successful traveling woodwind virtuosi and established the clarinet as an expressive, romantic instrument. Asan exponent of a new style of playing, he made the most of the new key construction and anembouchure that allowed greater agility and flexibility in playing. His ‘modern instrument’ made by Griesling & Schlott allowed him to play chromatic passages with greater ease than the traditional 5-keyed instruments. The new trend was to play with the reed resting against the player’s bottom lip, as is done today, while previously the top lip had been used to cushion the reed and this new position allowed a greater dynamic range, better intonation and flexibility. He was a true ‘star’ and after inspiring Carl Maria von Weber to compose two clarinet concerti and a concertino, he and Weber toured Prague and Germany (1811 – 1812). It was largely through Baermann's performances that the Berlin public began to appreciate Weber's music. Later, the clarinettist played to great acclaim in Italy, France, Russia, and England, including a six-month stint in London in 1819. His playing inspired not only Mendelssohn, but also Meyerbeer and Lachner.Baermann, himself, successfully composed for his instrument, penning an Adagio for Clarinet and Strings in D-flat, which was until the mid 1970s, incorrectly attributed to Richard Wagner.
Robert Schumann (1810-1856): Adagio und Allegro for Horn and Piano, Op.70
This composition, written in the same year as the Fantasy Pieces Op. 73, was conceived with the new valve horn in mind, which was becoming increasingly popular from the 1830s onwards. The valve horn enabled more precise chromaticism, and in accordance with this, Schumann’s opening melody uses half- steps in abundance. After publication, Schumann agreed that the work could also be played by violin or cello.
Somewhat reminiscent of his lieder style, the first movement uses a long sustained lyrical line in the horn part over richly textured chords in the piano. The scoring in the piano is interspersed with tender melodic fragments in the right hand, which comment and reflect upon the melody in the horn.
The second movement is robust, marked “fast and fiery” and it surges forward in ascending figures with Schumann moving between a heroic main subject and a more restless, inward- looking figure. The movement then subsides into a contemplative and deeply emotional section which calls to mind the second part of Schumann’s famous lied setting of Friedrich Ruckert’s poem “Widmung”. Upon returning to the main theme, the movement accelerates to a brilliant coda requiring virtuosity from both players, and ends triumphantly in A major.
Robert Schumann: Fantasy Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 73
Three Fantasy Pieces (Drei Fantasiestücke) for clarinet and piano, Op. 73, were written in 1849 by Robert Schumann during his most prolific period of instrumental writing. The Fantasiestücke, and Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132 are two works from this time that were originally written for clarinet and are a most important part of the standard clarinet repertoire. The three individual pieces were originally entitled "Soirée Pieces" before settling on the title "Fantasy Pieces”, a popular title for Schumann and reflecting the fundamental Romantic notion that creative expression is the product of the artist's unrestricted imagination. Each of the three fantasies feature dual virtuosic roles from piano and clarinet alike and demand contrasting mood changes, tempi, and emotional content. The first in A minor is sublimely tender and demonstrates perfectly that human emotion where beauty and sadness are entwined and barely indistinguishable. Each piece flows onward to the next (an instruction by Schumann). The second is light and hopeful and has moved into the key of A Major. The final piece remains in A major but this time whipping up a frenzy of fiery energy as Schumann instructs "schneller und schneller" (faster and faster). The movement ends exuberantly with a triumphant close.
Gustav Jenner (1865-1920): Trio in E flat Major for Clarinet Horn and Piano
Jenner was born in Scotland to a medical family. The family moved when he was very young to Kiel, in the far north of Germany and it was here that he started to compose music. After the early death of his father he was recommended to study with Brahms’ teacher Eduard Marxsen in Hamburg. He was then passed on to Brahms in Vienna where he also studied with Eusebius Mandyczewski. He worked with Brahms for seven years from February 1888 to 1895 and they remained very close until Brahms’ death in 1897. Jenner wrote two volumes of recollections on Brahms life and work which are a valuable biographical source.
It is no surprise that learning from Brahms’ teacher as well as learning from Brahms himself, Jenner’s harmonic language reflects the romantic world - full of characters from the fantastic and seeped with imagination. His beautifully crafted harmonies and melodies flow and soar with originality while resonating strongly with Brahmsian and Schumanesque features: such as the triplets against duplets; the scales in thirds and fourths; while the final movement delights in Mendelssohn-like triplet motif. The movement structure is strongly controlled in sonata form and also suggests a firm Brahmsian hand. Yet despite all these romantic signatures the work speaks for the following generation. Jenner’s harmonies probe toward the twentieth century. Harmonic extremes, occasionally bordering on dissonance where required, resound with Jenner’s musical world and contemporaries (such as Richard Strauss). His Trio in E flat for Horn, Clarinet & Piano,Trio E flat Major for Horn, Cello & Piano,andSonata in G major Op. 5 for Clarinet & Piano are delightful recent inclusions in the mainstream clarinet and horn repertoires.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) arr. Tony Wheeler: Jesu Joy of Man’s desiring