Emerald City Music (ECM) continues its sixth season under the leadership of Artistic Director and violinist Kristin Lee. On Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 7pm in Bellingham (Bellingham Ferry Terminal, presented by Bellingham Festival of Music and ECM), Friday, April 29, 2022 at 8pm in Seattle (415 Westlake) and Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 7:30pm in Olympia (Minnaert Center), ECM presents Clarinet Dances, featuring two remarkable and colorful clarinet quintets by Carl Maria von Weber and David Bruce. ECM’s performing artists for these concerts are Jose Franch Ballester, clarinet; Kristin Lee, violin; Jason Ueyama, violin; Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, viola; and Ani Aznavoorian, cello.
Carl Maria Von Weber’s Clarinet Quintet was written for his close friend, the clarinet virtuoso Heinrich Baermann. While the latter would have preferred a concerto to perform with orchestras, this work was designed such that the clarinetist could travel town to town and gather the local musicians to support the four string parts of this colorful work.
David Bruce’s Gumboots is a thematic clarinet quintet that brings to light the brutal labor conditions of South Africa under Apartheid. Black miners were chained together and wore Gumboots (wellington boots) while they worked in the flooded gold mines. Slapping the boots and chains was used by the workers as a form of communication which was otherwise banned in the mine. The composer describes the first half of his quintet as yearning for tranquility and peace, while the finale consists of five lively and joyful dances.