On the Concert Series


Topics and Selection Criteria 

First, I would like to give a concise introduction to how I constructed the five concert programs. Certainly, all chosen works feature the clarinet as the central voice. For a time frame, all compositions were written between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Geographically, all composers originate from the countries that were part of the former Soviet Union, including selected émigré composers. In each concert, various instrument combinations were represented: solo clarinet; clarinet with piano; chamber music with clarinet, piano and strings up to six performers. Each concert was built upon a thematic concept: Abandoned Melodies, Between Love and Hate, Facets of Expression, Echoes of the Past, Beyond Borders. Within each concept, I chose a cross-section of works from different styles and time periods within the above described criteria. Within each concert program, I was looking for musical and clarinetistic connections among the performed works.

There are seven subtopics within my research project, and in every concert, I touched upon several of them. Some works belong to more than one subtopic (for example, Stillman addressing both “Jewish Themes” and “Emigration”):
1. Jewish Themes in Russian/Soviet clarinet music (works by Prokofiev, Veprik, Stillman, Krein, Weinberg, Senderey, Dorfman)
2. “Undesired” compositions during the time of Stalinism (Ustvolskaya): 
this topic concerns some works with Jewish themes as well (Veprik, Krein, Senderey)
3. Clarinet music during the period of the “Thaw” (Lokshin)
4. The clarinet in the work of the “Khrennikov´s Seven” (Artyomov, Denisov, Firsova)
5. Clarinet music from the time of Perestroika (Denisov, Tarnopolsky, Kasparov, Podgaits, Rayeva, Tishchenko)
6. Clarinet compositions from the Baltic republics (Einfelde) 
7. Clarinet music from émigré composers (Stillman, Lourié, Agopov, Dorfman, Rayeva,Tchemberdji)
Furthermore, each concert included at least one well-known composition, considered as “standard clarinet repertoire” (Denisov, Khachaturian, Prokofiev; to a lesser extent Ustvolskaya, Weinberg and, especially concerning Finland, Agopov). Initially I planned to perform only one composition by each composer, but during the research process two exceptions emerged: Edison Denisov (solo sonata and clarinet quintet) and Grigory Krein (Rhapsody, Poème, Quartet). The work of Grigory Krein was unknown to me before, but his music was a revelation to me. Krein grew to become a personal favourite of mine and was therefore performed more than planned.


Artistic Aspects 

The program selection for the five doctoral concerts was also led by my personal artistic and clarinetistic preferences. One main objective was to explore various expressional facets of this specific repertoire within each concert, and to challenge myself in performing compositions – previously unfamiliar to me – as soloist, in duo and chamber music constellations. I was examining the clarinetistic particularities of each work and aimed to point out such unknown repertoire gems, which I felt deserved broader attention. Every concert presented several Finnish premieres (presumably first performances in Finland, as far as this is traceable and documented). The concerts aimed to give a broad view on the repertoire, each concert apart and as an entity of a five concerts series. However, my personal choice of compositions was not meant to be categorically representative for the entire repertoire. Firstly, compositions by five female composers (Ustvolskaya, Firsova, Einfelde, Tchemberdji, Rayeva) were forming a deliberate overrepresentation in comparison to the male-dominated profession of composers during the Soviet Union. The gender discussion is as relevant in the light of the socio-historic as it still is in the present-day context. Secondly, the amount of works with Jewish themes (Veprik, Krein, Weinberg, Senderey, Dorfman, Stillman and Prokofiev) exceeded the average. The basis for this lay, on the one hand, in my personal interest in this field, especially in the uncommon viewpoint of playing classical clarinet with Jewish traditional music influences.  On the other hand, a large part of this repertoire has faced a double neglect: offended during the composers’ lifetimes and abandoned nowadays, which I feel justifies my special attention. Finally, I consciously omitted the musically uninteresting “official” repertoire (according to the Soviet state aesthetics), virtuoso “showing-off” works, repertoire composed for solely pedagogic purposes, and, for practical reasons, clarinet concertos.