Viennese Vogue And The Clarinet

Rebecca Varidel
6th Jan 2023

Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra’s National Tour March 2023

Witness a musical revolution – performed on historical instruments, by some of Australia’s finest international artists – when the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra tours Australia including Greater Sydney, Newcastle, Orange and Canberra.

In the late 1700s, Vienna was seized by enthusiasm for the clarinet. Mozart fell in love with the sound of this fashionable new instrument, considering it the closest to the human voice, especially in the hands of the brilliant virtuoso Anton Stadler. He was moved by Stadler and clarinet builder Theodor Lotz’ latest invention, the basset clarinet, to compose his Clarinet Quintet in A major. With its perfect proportions and melodic invention, this exquisite work is one of Mozart’s best-loved pieces to this day.

Mozart’s repertoire for the clarinet put it on the map as a solo instrument, and inspired his former student and protégé,
Johann Nepomuk Hummel - a celebrated musician and composer in his own right. Hummel’s own Clarinet Quartet is a beautifully balanced work of chamber music and highlights his importance as a bridge between the Classical and Romantic eras.

We will also hear from Hummel’s friend and colleague Franz Schubert, and his unfinished String Trio D.471. Written at the start of one of the happiest and most creatively productive periods of his life, we’ll enjoy Schubert’s brilliance unfolding before your ears in this romantic, lyrical gem.

Featured artist in this delectable program is the orchestra’s founding co-artistic director and international clarinet virtuoso Nicole van Bruggen – playing a very special instrument.

“My gorgeous Mozart basset clarinet replica was built for me by Agnès Gueroult in her atelier in Paris. It was in preparation for the Mozart 250th birthday celebration year of 2006 during which I performed many Mozart Clarinet Concerto and Quintet concerts in Europe. The instrument is a copy of the exact basset clarinet, built by Theodore Lotz and played by Anton Stadler, for which Mozart composed only these two works.

It remains one of my favourite instruments from my collection of historical clarinets, not only due to its glorious tone and the flexibility of expression which it allows, but also because of the fascinating history and link to the three larrikins just mentioned. I will share with the audience, when I welcome them during the tour, just why there were only two pieces of music ever composed for this spectacular instrument.”

Joining Nicole for this extensive tour are co-artistic director Rachael Beesley (violin) together with Julia Russionello (violin), Simon Oswell (viola) and Daniel Yeadon (cello).

Featured artist in this delectable program is the orchestra’s founding co-artistic director and international clarinet.

Photo credit Robert Catto