Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday Tunes: Mozart's "Clarinet Quintet in A," K. 581

In my youth, I played the clarinet for a number of years. I wasn't a stellar clarinetist, and I didn't stick with it beyond junior high (this was probably due to the fact that I didn't really like being in "Band"; I think personality-wise I was much more cut out for "Orchestra"), but I did enjoy playing an instrument, and am still thankful for the experience. I think, in fact, having musical experience has factored greatly in my love of words and rhyme.

I don't think about the clarinet very often, but every once in a while I encounter or re-encounter some beautiful clarinet music. Such was the case today, driving home from Stockbridge, when the fabulous folks at WKAR Radio played Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A.

Listening to it was a wonderful rediscovery of a piece of music I've enjoyed in the past. As I drove along, in that quiet mind zone one sometimes enters when driving (need I add, "without children"?), I had one of those rare but wonderful Total Musical Experiences. The music wrapped around me and then carried me off. For almost the whole drive, I was completely with Mozart.

The recording that played on WKAR today was:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Quintet in A for Clarinet & Strings, K., 581 David Shifrin, clarinet; Chamber Music Northwest; Delos DCD-3020

The CD on my shelf at home (neglected for too long, but now back on my play list) is:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Clarinet Quintet in A, K. 581, Antony Pay, clarinet; Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields; Philips 422 833-2 (I don't find a listing for it on the Philips site, so I've linked to Amazon for info purposes; but if you consider purchasing it, please patronize your usual/favorite music establishment)

Both recordings are lovely.

(And so is WKAR. If you're not already a supporter of public radio -- and even if you are -- you might consider contributing to WKAR Radio's Spring Campaign.)


Kim said...

I'm a huge fan of classical music, a combination of our local classical music station, KUSC of which I'm a member, and a nice glass of wine frequently helps all of us survive the arsenic hour, about 5:30PM until dinner is on the table.

Debbie Diesen said...

Classical music stations are becoming fewer (so many of the public radio stations are going all talk), but the music-playing ones are worth their bandwidth in gold!

Love the expression "the arsenic hour," which I'd never heard before. I'm such a wordie that of course I googled it, and found that it harks back to 1975...

Between the nap and the twilight
When blood sugar is becoming lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as Arsenic Hour.
—Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons, The Mother's Almanac I, 1975

...which is a funny parody on the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, The Children's Hour (1863):

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.

(More than you wanted to know, or perhaps you knew all that already, but I found it fascinating to discover! Love those phrase and word histories...)