Accompanied by the MusicAeterna Orchestra, Russian clarinetist Sergey Eletskiy plays Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622. Conductor: Martin Sandhoff. Recorded at the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, Russia on March 18, 2016.
Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622
Mozart wrote his clarinet concerto shortly before his death, in 1791, for the clarinetist Anton Stadler, the Austrian clarinet and basset horn player (28 June 1753, Bruck an der Leitha – 15 June 1812, Vienna), whom Mozart had met in 1784 and subsequently befriended.
Stadler loved the clarinet’s low register and designed a slightly longer version, known as the basset clarinet, which added two more pitches on the bottom. And so Mozart wrote his concerto for this modified clarinet, giving much emphasis to its lower range. Throughout, he showed his great love and thorough understanding of the instrument’s special qualities, singing ability, and sparkling agility, capacity to move easily between “comedy” and “tragedy”. However, sometime after his death, his original score was lost.
Even in Mozart’s day, the basset clarinet was a rare, custom-made instrument. So, when the piece was published posthumously, a new version was arranged with the low notes transposed to the regular range. The clarinet concerto we hear today is a version Mozart’s publisher edited so it could be played by clarinets without Stadler’s low extension.
The concerto was given its premiere by Stadler in Prague on October 16, 1791. The reception of his performance was generally positive.
It consists of the usual three movements, in a fast-slow-fast form:
- Adagio @12:52
- Rondo: Allegro @19:32
Sergey Eletskiy is one of the most talented clarinet players of his generation. Born in 1989 in Moscow, he graduated with honors from the Central Music College (under the supervision of Honored Artist of Russia and Bolshoi Theatre soloist, V. Ferapontov) and later from the Moscow State Conservatory (professor: E. Petrov). He also studied at the Lübeck Academy of Music in Germany (professor: R. Wehle).
In 2012, Sergey Eletskiy became the first Russian clarinetist to win one of the oldest and most prestigious world competitions, ARD (Munich, Germany). This was followed by numerous awards at international competitions, including 1st place at the Carl Nielsen competition (Odense, Denmark, 2013) and 1st place at the International Clarinetist Competition in Ghent, Belgium (2015).
The musicAeterna orchestra was founded by Teodor Currentzis in 2004 in Novosibirsk. At that time, Currentzis was the music director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre.
In that capacity, Teodor performed well-known musical works together with the theatre orchestra. He did, however, want to transcend the repertoire and performance traditions, so he gathered a collective of musicians willing to achieve a common goal: to give their absolute best to music, to fully express the beauty of a given composer’s works, and to explore every score in a way that no other orchestra had done before. The Novosibirsk musicAeterna ensemble made a successful debut in Europe and became well-known in the Russian cultural circles.
In 2011, Teodor Currentzis became the artistic director of the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre. The ensemble was subsequently invited to join the theatre troupe. Funding was allocated by local authorities towards expanding the ensemble to a symphony orchestra. Thus, a new chapter began in musicAeterna’s history: the musicians were now fully engaged in premieres, recordings, tours, and concerts.
In summer 2019, musicAeterna gained the status of an independent ensemble. Its creative laboratory is now located at Dom Radio in Saint Petersburg, and musicAeterna residencies are being set up in Moscow, Lucerne and other cultural capitals.
Today, the musicAeterna orchestra is a reputable ensemble with an impressive list of awards won and concerts performed at the world’s leading stages. At the same time, the musicians are still devoted to their ideals of serving music, maintaining immaculate performance quality, and showing sincere love towards every new score in their repertoire.
- Clarinet Concerto (Mozart) on Wikipedia
- musicAeterna Orchestra official website
- Mozart: Clarinet Concerto on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra website