The Omega Ensemble present their debut recording on ABC Classics, surveying music for clarinet from across three centuries.
When Mozart composed his iconic Clarinet Quintet in 1789 it was the first time in chamber music that the clarinet had been employed as a solo voice. In this performance, David Rowden performs on the basset clarinet – the instrument Mozart intended.
This popular classic is accompanied by two new Australian pieces. George Palmer’s It Takes Two is a three-movement piece celebrating friendship, love, energy and fun. A rich and varied work that includes moments of jubilation, high octane energy and virtuosity, and also deeply tender and lyrical moments, the piece celebrates the very essence of human bonds and friendship. On this recording, Omega Ensemble and Rowden are joined by clarinetist Dimitri Ashkenazy, who premiered the work with the group in 2008.
Munro’s Songs from the Bush – a concerto for two clarinets – has a very different inspiration. As the composer himself says, ‘I use both [Australian] folk material and Indigenous music in two distinct ways: more or less simply stated, close to its ‘original’ form, and highly developed and re-imagined and re-combined with other tunes and motifs.’ Munro weaves these two musical sources together to create ‘a link and a sympathy between the two cultures in ways that words can struggle to, and history might tend to deny’.
The Omega Ensemble is one of Australia’s most dynamic chamber groups, with a dedication to commissioning new works and reviving lost ones.