8.3 Kasparov: Notturno - Clarinet Music from Russia and the Soviet Union 1917-1991
for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1990)
Yury Kasparov (Юрий Сергеевич Каспаров, b.1955 in Moscow) studied at the Moscow conservatory as the first official composition student of Edison Denisov. In 1990 together with Vladimir Tarnopolsky, Kasparov founded the Moscow Ensemble for Contemporary Music, which became an important platform and promotor for Russian contemporary music, both at home and abroad (Pospelov 2002, 132). Nowadays the ensemble is integrated in the Department of New Music at the Moscow conservatory. In the same year – 1990 – while he was finishing his post-graduate studies, Kasparov composed the trio Notturno for clarinet (in B-flat), violin and piano. Notturno is dedicated to the American Verdehr Trio. The available edition is a reprint of the handwritten score, but without separate performing parts (Kasparov, undated). In the same period Kasparov also composed Variations (1990; clarinet and piano) and Landscape Fading into Infinity (1991; clarinet, violin, cello and piano).
The trio consists of one movement with a duration of approximately 9 minutes. Kasparov applies twelve-tone composition techniques, yet in a more moderate form as a "melodic Chopinistic dodecaphonic piece" (Pospelov 2002, 146). Notturno mirrors different emotions through various shapes and combinations of the twelve-tone row in a serene atmosphere. The work shows thematic and sonic connections to the trio version of the Adagio from Alban Berg’s Kammerkonzert.
 The Verdehr trio was active from 1972 to 2015 and consisted of Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr (clarinet) Walter Verdehr (violin) and various pianists. Verdehr trio commissioned over 200 new works from various composers and recorded most of them. More information on www.verdehr.com
Video ex.8.3.1: 12-tone row (Kasparov Notturno, mm.1-3)
The clarinet introduces the row very gently, setting the tender and delicate tone for the rest of the ensemble, with clarinet, violin and piano melting together as one unit (Video ex.8.3.1: 12-tone row). A more vivid middle section is followed by a dreamy, stagnant section with flageolet sounds from the violin. A nervous passage with descending sequences is interrupted by the clarinet solo, pausing the ensemble playing several times for a moment (Video ex.8.3.2: Halt). This section gives way to the reprise, where the peaceful night atmosphere from the beginning of Notturno takes over again, ending in complete serenity.
Video ex.8.3.2: Halt (Kasparov Notturno, mm.112-122)
Anne Elisabeth Piirainen, clarinet
Lea Tuuri, violin
Kirill Kozlovski, piano
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5th doctoral concert "Beyond Borders"
31.05.2018 Helsinki Music Centre