Author Archives: Jane Booth (historical clarinet player)

Concerto Fever!

I’ll be performing Mozart’s timeless concerto for clarinet next week with the Hull Camerata and @MusicHullUni and I’m working on my embellishments – refreshing my ideas, exploring some new twists and turns and asking…..just how long a cadenza might be in this piece. Working from the @BarenreiterUK edition which is looking lovingly worn these days, I’ve lost track of the drinks that have spilled on the front cover but at least the inside is intact! I’m reminded of the many possibilities this piece holds for clarinettists given that we don’t have a copy in Mozart’s hand and it’s interesting to listen to the solutions others have found (in recordings and in their editions) on regular clarinets and on instruments with a basset extension. Thanks to Daniel Bangham of @WWRReedsDirect for a wonderful boxwood instrument to play on and to @denotejohn for all the cups of tea.

Looking forward immensely to meeting the band. The concert also includes an example of a smaller scale concerto – the Piano Concerto K. 413 with string quartet. John Irving performs on his beautifully elegant McNulty fortepiano.

April 15th University of Hull, Lindsey Suite. Mozart Concertos (Clarinet Concerto, K.622 and Piano Concerto K. 413) with John Irving, Jane Booth and members of the Hull Camerata,  1.15pm. We’re really looking forward to it.

…and we’ll be working with students after the concert.

7 May Fundraiser for Lythe Chamber Music 2016


Sneaton Castle will once again be the venue for an all-Mozart Fundraising Concert for Lythe Chamber Music 2016. Saturday 7 May, at 7.30pm.

Following the successful concert there on 5 December last year, course founders Jane Booth and John Irving return to Sneaton to perform masterpieces by Mozart with a local string quartet led by Tony Mason (Chairman of Lythe Early Music Performance Group).

John said: “Jane and I are really looking forward to this concert, which gives us an opportunity to work with Tony in a different way. We’re used to him wearing his Chairman’s hat – and also, of course, being a huge supporter of Jamie Walton’s annual North York Moors Chamber Music Festival. But we’ve never encountered him as a player. We know he’s very active as an orchestral and chamber music Leader in the area, so this is a chance to develop our contacts in a different musical way. He’s certainly got his work cut out in this concert, as he’s playing viola as well as violin!”

John will be playing Mozart’s own arrangement of his Piano Concerto, K.413 for piano and string quartet (1782); Jane’s performance of the ever-popular Clarinet Quintet (a regular winner of the Classic FM Hall of Fame!) will be on a copy of an unusual basset clarinet played by Anton Stadler, for whom Mozart originally wrote the piece; Tony will join both of them for the extraordinary ‘Kegelstatt’ Trio for viola, clarinet and piano (1786).


Mozart Piano Concerto in F, K.413 (John Irving)

Mozart Kegelstatt Trio, in E flat, K.498 (Tony Mason, Jane Booth, John Irving)

Mozart Clarinet Quintet in A, K.581 (Jane Booth)

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Two key wonders

Three wonderful clarinet players visited today and we had heaps of fun exploring the tonal and musical possibilities of baroque clarinets. Eirik, Roar and Tor Egill came from the Norwegian Wind Ensemble  with their new baroque instruments in D and in C after Denner (made by Guy Cowley). We played duets, looked at some of the stylistic writing for the instruments and at the composers who knew and used these instrument in the early eighteenth century (Rameau, Vivaldi, Handel). The very simplest of instruments tell a story of their own and will open up some new repertoire ideas for their ensemble for sure!


@theoae and Mozart, Myslivicek and Don Giovanni.

Our first performance of this startling wind programme was given in Bradford on Avon yesterday. With the ‘Gran Partitia’ making up the first half and some lighter works entertaining players and audience alike in the second half, this programme was a little unusual.
I’m playing three different instruments in this concert made by three talented makers. B flat clarinet after H. Grenser made by Daniel Bangham. It works really well, projects and sings all at the same time. Grenser style C clarinet is by Peter van der Poel, the sound flows from it with ease and the intonation is superb. My basset horn is by Guy Cowley and is a rather ‘pure’ copy of a Lotz instrument with fewer keys that I am used to having for the first basset part of the Gran Partita! What I’m learning is that the best instruments don’t need extra gadgets to make them attractive, the beauty is built in. This instruments is a dream to play, it feeds back with its own ideas on sound and colour and inspires me a fresh each time I play. Guy Cowley is a perfectionist in everything he does, as a player and as a maker he never disappoints.
The OAE is in fine form and I can’t wait for the upcoming week when we explore the Gran Partita in concerts at the South Bank Centre (London), and The Anvil (Basingstoke).

An epic week….

This week has been a whirlwind of thinking, talking and doing. So much new and insightful information has come my way for which I’m truly grateful – feeling very nourished. And on top of it all a terrific concert last night with the very beautiful Mass in C (Beethoven) brilliantly conducted by Rufus Frowde. If that wasn’t enough, I had a ball playing Mozart’s Concerto for basset clarinet. I’d like to offer serious thanks to Joseph Sanders, John Kelsey, Diane Terry and especially to John Irving – each one of you made a significant contribution to that performance.

Jane and Clarinets08 002.jpg

Viva Vanhal!

vanhalcdcover1MUSICWEB’s review of Ensemble DeNOTE’s Vanhal Clarinet Sonatas arrived today!

If these sonatas are still unknown to you then take note – the Sonata No.3 in E flat is a ‘wonderful third work’. On the disc we preceded it with the Sonatina in E flat – ‘this works so well I was actually startled’.

‘For lovers of historical instruments and performance practices, this is a real treat….nobody will wish for a modern instrument in their stead.’ Two nice reviews in one day, wonderful!

Gramophone Review for Ensemblef2

photoVery pleased to receive a review from Gramophone Magazine today, ‘This is a wonderful match of interesting repertoire and classy musicianship.’ Our approach seems to have hit the spot from the start of Danzi’s lovely Quintet (Op.41), ‘The brooding yet beguiling sonority of the Larghetto opening features softly sustained chords that are immaculately balanced by James Eastaway (oboe), Jane Booth (clarinet), Ursula Leveaux (bassoon) and Anneke Scott (horn); all are on scintillating form in this masterfully crafted and elegantly dramatic music’.The Fritz fortepiano from Finchcocks receives a special mention as does the wonderful Steven – ‘Devine’s alert sensitivity and Booth’s cantabile expressiveness form a fine partnership in the Sonata in B flat for fortepiano and clarinet (Op 54)’.

A busy month

La-Clemenza-portrait-icon-web-use128 March 2014

Following on from February, which included my first return to my alma mater, The University of Sheffield since 1991 (for a concert with Ensemble DeNOTE), March highlights included a concert performance of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at Cadogan Hall with Classical Opera Company (13 March) and a CD recording with DeNOTE (24-8 March) of Beethoven’s self-arrangements of two of his most popular works, the Septet, Op.20 (arranged for clarinet, cello and piano) and the Piano and Winds Quintet, Op.16 (arranged as a Piano Quartet).

Clemenza includes two significant obbligato arias, ‘Parto, Parto‘ (scored for obbligato basset clarinet) and ‘Non piu di fiori’ (scored for obbligato basset horn) – making 4 instruments in all for the principal playing the whole opera! I was thrilled to be playing alongside such wonderful singers as Helen Sherman and Gillian Ramm.

Working at St Martin’s East Woodhay is a rewarding experience – the acoustic is ideal for chamber music, and supported by a great team including Adrian Hunter as Sound Engineer and Co-Producer and Ed Pickering as instrument technician, we were able to make the very best of this special place. We look forward to the CD being ready in time for Christmas!

How adrenaline can help…..

Jane and Clarinets08 002February 2nd 2014
Emerging from a heavy dose of flu to write this retrospectively, I can scarcely believe that I actually played the recent concert of chamber music by Mozart and Hummel with Fiori Musicale at Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire, home to ancestors of George Washington – First President of the United States. Fiori’s intrepid Director, Penelope Rapson kept persuading me that I was ‘looking much better now!’ almost up to the moment I walked on stage. Thanks to my wonderful colleagues Malu, Kathryn, Jane and Poppy who even brought me back a cooked meal from a local hostelry (scoffed just moments before the start!) we got through. I have almost no memory of the performance itself….