UPEI and Old Belle River Church present encore Simon performance

Journal Pioneer staff
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BELLE RIVER — The Old Belle River Church and UPEI will present an encore performance of “A Solitary Clarinetist” on Friday, July 25, at 8 p.m. Performed by UPEI clarinet professor Karem J. Simon, this performance is unique in that it will feature a diverse selection of music performed by one clarinetist only; no other collaborative musicians will be involved.

UPEI clarinet professor Karem J. Simon

This recital is an extraordinary experience as it blends the Old Belle River Church’s remarkable acoustics with the comfort, ambiance, and intimacy so desired in the presentation of chamber music. In addition, the hospitality of owner Wendy Jones, a substantial visual artist herself, makes for a unique evening of entertainment.

Dr. Simon’s recitals often feature music that uses the clarinet in unique ways. It stems from his philosophy that “if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.”

Accordingly, among the featured works is “Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa” by Phillip Kent Bimstein. This work is a fantasy for clarinet, frogs, crickets, and coyotes. Fascinated with the sounds of nature, Bimstein sought to find means to integrate them with a live musician. He visited a canyon in Zion National Park in southern Utah where he digitally recorded the sounds of singing frogs, howling coyotes, crickets, rocks, thunder, and rushing water. The sounds were shaped and manipulated with the use of his computer and a synthesizer keyboard. Eventually, he produced a recorded track with the arrangement of sounds and composed a part for a musician to play live. It will be a fascinating aural experience for the audience.

The performance will begin with music from the Baroque era. While the clarinet had not yet been invented, Dr. Simon will perform a transcription of the two bourées from Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 3.” Hungarian composer Béla Kovàcs will be featured as three of his Hommages, “Bach,” “Debussy,” and “Richard Strauss” will be performed. Stravinsky’s “Three Pieces” and a number of character pieces will be included.

The second half of the recital will begin with “Gryphon,” by American composer Theresa Martin. Exploring unusual colours through micro-tones, fluttertonguing, and growls, it captures the character and activity of this mythological beast.

Another contemporary work, “Dissonant Grooves,” will conclude the program. Written by Minnesota guitarist Jeff Lambert, “Grooves” utilizes jazz rhythms, flutter tonguing, and multiphonics to create a relentlessly funky number.

Those who have attended recitals by Dr. Simon know that there is considerable audience engagement in his presentation. This may be the perfect opportunity for those unfamiliar with the classical music realm to experience the genre.

Admission is by donation — $15 is recommended. Guests are invited to bring their own beverages and snacks to add to their enjoyment.

The Old Belle River Church is located in Belle River, near Wood Islands.

Organizations: Belle River Church, Half Moon

Geographic location: Zion National Park, Southern Utah, Minnesota Belle River Wood Islands

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