It was a clarinet fest.
Most obvious was the clarinet concerto in the middle of the program. Closer inspection revealed three clarinets, basset horn and bass clarinet in the Moonlight Music from Richard Strauss’s Capriccio. Five clarinettists (two of them casuals) for four minutes of music. Now that was an indulgence worthy of the composer!
Furthermore, after my talk (this was on the Friday evening) I was approached by not one but two clarinettists from the audience – one is preparing for a performance diploma and had questions about how to begin researching a program, the other has been following the orchestra’s twitter account for a little while and wanted to say hello. It really is lovely to encounter in real life followers from social media.
Then (once more a Friday night exclusive) after the concerto we were treated to an encore. The principal viola set up a simple drone and the soloist began a noodling kind of solo that I suspected of being an improvisation. Turns out it was a composition by his partner. The rhythms and modal inflections were such that I kept expecting it to break into “Der Leiermann” from Schubert’s Winterreise at any second. It didn’t.
Assuming it’s not edited out for timing or other reasons, the encore should be available, together with the rest of the concert, when the webstream from the concert is posted online.