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30 January 2008

Moving Beyond the Music Stand – Part Two

Clarity Clarinet Quartet Image: Clarity Clarinet Quartet  

Members of Canberra-based Clarity Clarinet Quartet – Nicole Canham, Sam Kelson, Lisa Manning and Matthew O’Keeffe – have recently finished a week-long intensive workshop for their project Six Memos. resonate invited Clarity to blog about their experiences during the series of workshops. What follows is the second installment of their daily reflections. Read their first blog entry here.

Day Five

Yesterday we reached the point of finishing the opening scenes of the show, so today we set out to finish blocking the whole show. What an amazing day! Marrying movement, action and characterisation to the performance of this kind of repertoire is an incredible exercise in multiple layers of concentration. While the performance needs to appear to be natural, what it takes to recall everything required at the appropriate times (or even part of what is required) is a complex process. We weren’t sure we could still speak English by the end of the day…

Day Six

It became obvious when we ran the show for the first time from start to finish that we were perhaps not all speaking English in the same way, as we go through the process of remembering our show in its infancy. Clear instructions felt like vague memories. We try to help each other, but this only creates more confusion. We tell ourselves that there is still one month left until opening night, while we frantically plan our next rehearsals.

We are very excited about what we have achieved over these last few days and we are looking forward to show week. Six Memos: The unbearable lightness of being a clarinet quartet aims to take the audience on a raucous, vital, surprising, and eloquent journey that is one quartet’s investigation of the world of musical artistry.

Inspired and informed by current philosophies on lightness, the show explores the issue of what constitutes serious music in the 21st century. What is the difference between lightness and superficiality? Do different aesthetics carry different weights? What then shall we choose – weight or lightness?

Our work as a quartet asks you to leave pre-conceived notions of the clarinet at the door. Collaborating with stage director Caroline Stacey, visual artist David Sequeira and lighting designer David Longmuir has certainly challenged our conceptions about being a clarinet quartet in the world of music.

Further Links

Clarity Clarinet Quartet (www.clarity4.com)

Performance Details

Clarity Clarinet Quartet is one of Australia’s unique chamber ensembles. Celebrating 10 years in 2006, the quartet has established itself as an entertaining, versatile and technically brilliant group. Leave any pre-conceived notion of the clarinet at the door: these musicians explore every genre and make it their own, from contemporary art music to jazz standards.


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