Ebony suite by a composer and clarinettist Jiří Hlaváč (*1948) received its world premiere at a concert held by the Czech Chamber Music Society on 16 March at the Suk Hall of Rudolfinum. It was performed by the Five Star Clarinet Quartet, an ensemble comprising Hlaváč as its player and dramaturge as well as three of his former students, successful clarinettists Vlastimil Mareš, Irvin Venyš and Jan Mach.
The title of the piece, reminiscent of Ebony Concerto (1945) by Igor Stravinsky, refers to the ebony wood as one of the materials clarinets have traditionally been made of. Hlaváč was working on the Suite in the course of 2015 with the exception of the third movement, Air, which is based on the composer’s piece of the same name for clarinet and piano from 2013. Moreover, each of the four movements pays hommage to four great Czech clarinettists of the past (Milan Kostohryz, Ferdinand Havlík, Vladimír Říha, Karel Krautgartner) by using musical reminiscences referring to the particular style of their clarinet playing. The premiere, following Ondřej Kukal’s Clarinettiana op. 35, was the last number on the programme; in the first half the quartet performed music of the older eras arranged for clarinets (J. S. Bach, T. Albinoni, W. A. Mozart).
16 March 2016, Suk Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague
Jiří Hlaváč: Ebony Suite (world premiere)
Five Star Clarinet Quartet