Master Class in Scotland

Master Class in Scotland
Westerly Band - Thu Apr 22, 2010 @ 04:00PM
Comments: 58

Last year, in a newsletter, I wrote about band camp for adults. This year, I took my own advice and attended a week-long master class for bass clarinets on the Isle of Raasay in Scotland. The weather was perfect, the scenery fabulous, and the sight-seeing enjoyable. I had a great time, but this blog should be about music so from here on I'll write about the class.

We were asked to prepare a solo for the class and on the first day I was nervous. There are were eleven students altogether along with our mentors, Sarah Watts, an international soloist and Antony Clare, pianist and clarinetist. We began the day playing as a group, both improvisational and songs inspired by the islands. After lunch, we began our master class performances, and finished the day by breaking into ensembles, quartets and duos. Altogether, a full day of playing bass clarinet.

While Sarah gives a private lesson to one student, another presents his or her prepared piece to the rest of the class. Antony is the accompanist and instructor. The resulting discussion is not so much abut technique as it is about the music itself and its presentation. For example, yesterday, with small changes in phrasing and emphasis, a piece went from baroque to romantic and back. In my piece, I missed a couple of high C's, but our discussion was about using dynamics to shape some of the phrases.

Wednesday evening, Sarah and Antony gave a concert. Sarah, on the bass clarinet, demonstrated a mastery of musical styles ranging from classical to contemporary, from serious to whimsical. The concert also was the world premiere for a new song "Goings-On". The composer, Iain Matheson, was in attendance. Late Thursday afternoon we students gave a recital in which each of us played his or her prepared piece. And Friday afternoon was a concert for the ensembles, and for the entire group as a choir. Two pieces the choir played had a local flavor, and were composed for this event. . One is "Raasay Sound" by Stuart Russell and the other "Thor", which was composed by Antony Clare.

.Aside from the scenery and the food and all bass clarinet music, what made it special were the people. I have become friends with eleven personable and fun individuals who happen to play the bass clarinet. Thursday evening we had a ceilidh in the hotel lounge, drinking, laughing, and playing Scottish folk music on a trio of bass clarinets. What a wonderfully enjoyable week!
- Roy Clark, April 17,2010

Comments: 58


1. Chris   |   Fri Apr 30, 2010 @ 10:54AM

oops! I commented on the wrong article!

2. Chris   |   Thu May 13, 2010 @ 10:32AM

sounds like it was a great time!!

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