More March Madness

Sorry not to have clogged your in-box for nearly a month, but we gave ourselves a writing-break. So here’s a quick catch-up on several noteworthy things that came in while we were doing a deep dive into Rebecca Clarke’s childhood.

Time-sensitive, because it live-streams only until April 16, is an extraordinarily beautiful performance of Clarke’s Poem for string quartet, by the equally extraordinary Carducci Quartet, at London’s Wigmore Hall. Here again, we can see Clarke’s wisdom in leaving this piece as a freestanding item—after that, what more could possibly be said? Poem begins at 28:25, flanked by Mendelssohn 6 and Shostakovich 2, both electric. Wigmore Hall’s programming over the past year has been a major reason for staying safe and staying alive, so be sure to follow the links under the video and contribute.

Available indefinitely, and definitely worth spending time with, again and again, is a transformative interpretation of Clarke’s Trio by the NZTrio, dating back to 2019 but just recently published in support of New Zealand musicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from the sheer beauty and focus of the playing, this performance is chiefly remarkable for bringing out the Trio’s commonly-overlooked Romanticism, which has the unexpected effect of revealing how unified—and how bracingly modern—the Finale is. It’s certainly not the only way to play the piece, but it’s one that you probably have never heard before, and won’t soon forget. We haven’t—in fact, we’ve put it up on our Video for one-click playing, at leisure.

While you’re there, have another listen at the thrilling performance of Clarke’s Sonata by Richard O’Neill and Jeremy Denk, and send good wishes to Richard, who just won the Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo, for his eloquent account of Christopher Theofanidis’s Concerto For Viola And Chamber Orchestra. He gave an exceptionally nice acceptance-speech, too.

Finally, writing up the current rash of Seal Man recordings and live performances turned up some fascinating documentary and visual evidence, so we’ve put it all together in a new Gallery feature. Not to be a one-note or anything, but if you harbor any remaining illusion to the effect that Clarke was a dainty-dish who hung out with wet-rag pals, take a look at the cast of characters involved with The Seal Man, and—as we say in Brooklyn—fuggedaboudit!

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