We were inspired to gather together this collection of chamber works for reasons beyond the obvious prestige of the individual composers and the importance of their works. We wanted to present the listener with a satisfying musical journey, as much through the formal variety as the expressive content of the pieces, full of contrasts that are to be found among different movements of the same piece, as well as among the five works on the recording. Rather than offering a historical overview of the programme, we would prefer to look briefly at our choice of title, Deep Light, and its various meanings. On the one hand, it aims to evoke the luminosity that lies in the depth of feeling, represented here by two major works of the German Romantic clarinet repertoire, the Grand Duo Concertant by Carl Maria von Weber and Robert Schumann’s Phantasiestücke. Emotionally profound in their darker, slower movements, these works also display an exalted brightness in their exuberant finales. On the other hand, however, the deep and the light are simply synonyms for the serious and the playful. Seen in this way, the two German works provide the weight on the CD, while the three others fall more into the second category. It is our hope that the contrasting styles and the unusual juxtaposition of repertoire will stimulate those familiar with these works into fresh ways of listening, and provide those new to them with the delight of discovery.
Carl Maria Von Weber: Gran Duo Concertant op.48 (I selec.)
Cristo Barrios has developed an illustrious international career as a soloist and chamber musician, which combines classical and romantic repertoire with new creations and a particular interest in 20th-century music. Besides, his performances for clarinet, dancers and free improvisation are much in demand and show him as a versatile and unique artist. His soloist career has led him to perform in some of the most prestigious concert halls, such as Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall in London, Konzerthaus in Berlin and Viena, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Carnegie Hall in New York. As a chamber musician he has appeared with the Elias, Minetti, Endellion, Arditti and Brodsky string quartets and with soloists Asier Polo and Maxim Rysanov. His commitment to contemporary music and also to the creation of new works for his instrument led him to give a number of world premieres, including Gustavo Díaz-Jerez’s Symphonic Poem Ayssuragan with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra conducted by Antoine Marguier, and Nino Díaz’s Second Clarinet Concerto with the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev. His interests not only in relation to contemporary compositions, but also regarding the theoretical matters (from the disciplines of musicology and philosophy) which underpin the collaborations between the composers and soloists, took him to develop an ambitious doctoral research. This research project allowed him to work in depth on some of the key works in the recent repertory for clarinet in direct contact with composers such as Einojuhani Rautavaara, Helmut Lachenmann, Kaija Saariaho and Jörg Widmann. The completion of this research project resulted in his being awarded a PhD in musicology by the Complutense University in Madrid. His recording projects stem from his passion for providing new musical creations to as broad an audience as possible, along with his enthusiasm for developing personal interpretations of the established repertory. Thus, Cristo Barrios recorded The Voice of the Clarinet (Divine Art Records), a CD with original transcriptions of lieder; 20th Century Music for Clarinet (Metier Records), which includes works by Bernstein, Bax, Berg, Brotons and Honegger; and IAMUS (Melomics Records), a CD with music created through an innovative project at the University of Málaga involving composers, musicians and scientists. As for his teaching career, Cristo Barrios has given master classes at the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra Superior Conservatory in Lisbon, the University of Arts in Zürich, the Strasbourg Conservatory, the Norwegian Academy of Music, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Cologne Conservatory, the Liszt Academy in Budapest and the Amsterdam Conservatory. His pedagogic endeavours are remarkable for the employment of new methodologies that introduce interdisciplinary innovations including the use of free improvisation, singing and dance in order to improve the performance skills of his students.
Cristo Barrios is honorific associate of the Royal Academy of Music in London and is currently teaching at the Centro Superior Katarina Gurska and at the Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio (Madrid). He is a Buffet Crampon, Vandoren and Silverstein artist and he has been working with the clarinet maker René Hagmann, who has made significant advances in his clarinets.