Repertoire Day One: Masterclass and Concert – Wind

Three masterclass opportunities are included in the Summer School. A masterclass is where an individual receives tuition while others watch, listen and learn. Sarah Watts offered a masterclass for wind and brass players.

P1110221Before the masterclass, Sarah gave a concert of contemporary music for the clarinet, including a piece for bass clarinet. Her enthusiasm for performance drew us, the audience, into sounds and styles that were new to many of us. She played with vibrancy, delicacy, force, percussively, with the use of harmonics (sounding two notes at once) and always with great musicality.

Sarah’s second piece was Pierre Boulez’ Domaines pour Clarinet. It requires 7 music stands. On one is the anchoring music, and on the other six sections of the piece that shift yet relate. The music of these stands, placed around the performance space, are to be played from left to right or in another direction. The musician chooses the order in which to visit each stand, revisiting each a second time to play the score in the other direction before returning to the ‘facing the audience stand’ for the close of the piece.  I imagine no two performances of the piece can ever be the same, a true collaboration between the composer, musician and audience, who travel the path of composer and musician both with eyes and ears. Goodness, that was hard to describe! I can assure you it sounds extraordinary and amazing. Google it if you would like to know more.

Yesterday, in Back to Basics, we talked about time and key signatures, bar lines etc. Boulez has ‘liberated’ the piece from these. Here’s a picture of Sarah’s score. NB – this is what a pencil is for! P1110224

When I dropped in on the masterclass, Sarah was offering advice about genres of music suited to a particular stage of learning, and the use of the breath.

Here with Sarah are clarinetists Jennifer and Angela, and trumpeter Richard:

To find out more about Sarah, visit her website.

Did I say this would be a blog sandwich? Make that a triple decker. Owen Cox and the string masterclass will follow after coffee.