BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL PARK CITY, Park City Community Church, April 19

One of the things that distinguished the Beethoven Festival Park City is the variety of repertoire performed. Repertoire by well known composers is at the core, but the festival also presents music that is rarely, if ever, heard by composers who are anything but household names.

Friday’s concert highlighted this side of the festival – the program was devoted mainly to music for clarinet, but also included a few pieces for solo guitar.

Festival co-director Russell Harlow and pianist Bryan Stanley opened the program with three short pieces – Charles-Marie Widor’s Introduction and Rondo; Ferruccio Busoni’s Elegy; and an arrangement of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee. Each piece showed off Harlow’s fluid playing and technical skills.

Utah Valley University guitarist Jon Yerby followed with his own arrangement of the Grave and Allegro movements from J.S. Bach’s Second Violin Sonata, BWV 1003. Both movements showcased Yerby’s delicately crafted lyricism and light touch.

Yerby also played a set of four original guitar pieces – J.K. Mertz’s An Malvina; Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Etude No. 11 and Prelude No. 1; and Agustin Barrios’ Ultimo Tremolo. Yerby’s nuanced playing captured the unique character of each piece, with finely crafted liens and soft expressiveness.

UVU colleagues Matthew Nelson, clarinet, and Jeb Wallace, horn, also performed at the concert.

Nelson displayed his virtuoso technique in a tricky piece for solo clarinet and also joined Harlow and Wallace for the relatively unknown Overture for Two Clarinets and Horn by George Frideric Handel. The three played off each other well; they also blended seamlessly together while keeping each part distinct.

Rounding out the concert were Felix Mendelssohn’s delightful Konzertstück no. 2, op. 114, for clarinet, basset horn and piano; and Carl Reinecke’s gorgeously expressive Andante for clarinet, horn and piano.

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About Edward Reichel

Edward Reichel, author, writer and composer, has been covering the classical music scene in Utah since 1997. For many years he served as the primary music critic for the Deseret News. He has also written for a number of publications, including Chamber Music Magazine, OPERA Magazine, 15 Bytes, Park City Magazine and Salt Lake Magazine. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He can be reached at Reichel Recommends is also on Twitter @ReichelArts.

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