Portland Chamber Music Festival: Reflections
Brahms' glorious Clarinet Quintet, inspired by a phenomenal virtuoso of his day, is a cornerstone of the chamber music repertoire. A gently serene nocturne is the calm before the storm of Schoenberg's dramatic “stand against tyranny.”
A gentle serenity and sublime slowness infuses a single-movement nocturne by Schubert; the calm before the storm which is Schoenberg’s “stand against tyranny” for piano, reciter, and string quartet. Ode to Napoleon, based on a poem by Lord Byron, references “La Marseillaise” (France’s national anthem) and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to yield a forcefully dramatic expression of resistance in the World War II era. The evening comes to a glorious close with the absolutely gorgeous clarinet quintet by Brahms, one of his final works, written during an unexpected re-emergence from retirement inspired by hearing the virtuoso clarinetist, Richard Mühlfeld.