The Buffalo Chamber Players, the adventurous group led by Buffalo Philharmonic violist Janz Castelo, are exploring what can be done with a clarinet.
On the lyrical side of the spectrum is the Clarinet Quintet by one of music's great Romanticists, Johannes Brahms. This masterpiece for clarinet and string quartet, filled with bittersweet beauty, ranks with great clarinet works of Mozart. Audiences have always loved it.
In a twist, the clarinet will also go klezmer. The Buffalo Chamber Players are premiering a piece for klezmer clarinet and string quartet by Argentinian-born composer Osvaldo Golijov. The work has the alluring title of "The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind." Golijov was raised in an Eastern European Jewish household, and the piece was inspired by the mysticism and writings of a 12th century rabbi.
“About 800 years ago, Isaac the Blind—who was the greatest Kabbalist rabbi of Provence—dictated a manuscript saying that everything in the universe, all things and events, are products of combinations of the Hebrew alphabet's letters," the composer wrote. "The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind is a kind of epic, a history of Judaism. It has Abraham, exile, and redemption. The movements sound like they are in three of the languages spoken in almost 6,000 years of Jewish history: the first in Aramaic, the second in Yiddish, and the third in Hebrew. I never wrote it with this idea in mind, and only understood it when the work was finished.”
The evening will also include the world premiere of "Net Force," by BCP composer-in-residence Caroline Mallonée.
Buffalo Chamber Players, "Dreams and Prayers": 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Tickets are $20, students $5. Call 270-8292.
Story topics: Buffalo Chamber Players