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Alexander Morris, clarinet
Photo: Pia Johnson

Alex Morris’s love of American music is the thread that links his three Fellowship Recitals for 2013.

“I want to showcase some of the great American chamber music with clarinet,” says Morris. He believes the Clarinet Quintet by Elliott Carter, who died last year aged 103, is yet to be played in Australia, a case of neglect he wants to put right. “I think it’s a great example of his musical style. Many Melbourne audiences have never heard his work before.”

From South America comes The Dreams & Prayers of Isaac the Blind for klezmer clarinet and string quartet by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov.Morris describes it as “one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces I’ve come across,” adding that it “provides a strong contrast to Carter’s Quintet, even though it is in the same instrumentation.” Golijov’s music is strongly rooted in folk and popular styles. In this piece he recreates the lost world of the medieval ghetto in a piece inspired by the 12th century rabbi and mystic Isaac Saggi Nehor of Provence. Isaac believed the laws of the cosmos were encoded in the Hebrew alphabet, a concept not far removed from today’s search for the Theory of Everything through the laws of physics. Golijov’s piece is in three movements, each one an interpretation of the three tongues of Judaism: Aramaic, Yiddish and Hebrew.

Morris will be giving the Melbourne premiere of John Adams’ Son of Chamber Symphony, in which the composer takes his audience on a roller-coaster ride through his own vision of American pop culture. “John Adams was a fairly easy choice, since he’s probably America’s most famous living composer, and since I’ve always had a great admiration for his work, the question was not whether to include him, but what to play.  Since Melbourne Symphony Orchestra gave a great performance of his Chamber Symphony in 2011, I thought that Son of Chamber Symphony would be a really great choice. It’s a highly intricate and difficult work to perform but is also accessible, exciting and quite humorous. It’s very exciting for me that John Adams will be in the building while rehearsals are happening!”

No survey of American music could leave out Aaron Copland, and Morris has programmed an audience favourite. “Appalachian Spring is the quintessential American chamber work and I never tire of hearing or playing it. I think it and the Adams are a great display of where American music has come from, and where it’s going.”

Fellowship Project
Alexander Morris
Tue 26 March, 7PM

Schickele Serenade for 3

Alexander Morris clarinet
Caroline Hopson violin
Stewart Kelly piano

GolijovThe Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind

Alexander Morris clarinet
Ioana Tache violin
Courtenay Cleary violin
Tom Higham viola
Jack Bailey cello

$5 Entry (ANAMates Free)

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