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Gervase De Peyer at 80

Mendelssohn Concert Pieces for two clarinets Op.113 & 114
Schumann Fairy Tales Op.132
Horovitz Sonatina for clarinet & piano
Ponchielli Divertimento "II Convegno"
Bliss Clarinet Quintet (Moderato)
Bartok Contrasts
Schubert Octet (finale and scherzo)

Gervase De Peyer (clarinet) with
Vincenzo Perrone
Carlo Balzaretti
Gwynneth Pryor
Robin Ireland
Susanne Stanzeleit
William Waterhouse
Stephen Stirling
Celia Waterhouse
Leon Bosch

This celebration of a great clarinettist in his prime at 80 was more a party than a regular concert. Robert Matthew-Walker writes in Musical Opinion that besides his many "friends" on the platform everyone in the capacity audience seemed to be a friend of Gervase, who had lived mainly in USA for many years and was less often seen in England.

To declare an interest, I was there because he'd been in my class at school during the War in the early '40s, and I went to the first concerts of the Melos Ensemble which he co-founded; one of UK's earliest mixed chamber groups - those have multiplied to become a leading concert genre in cash-strapped times for orchestras. I was warned by his sister, whom I'd met again after more than 60 years, that the queue backstage would be prohibitive, so I am only able to congratulate Gervase with this notice.

His was immaculate, untiring playing through a (very long) programme; the Bartok wasn't a great ensemble performance and we didn't stay for Schubert at the end. Schumann's late Fairy Tales was a high spot. Of a similar age, Joseph Horowitz was amongst us to share pleasure in his charming Sonatina. I could have done without a second of the Mendelssohn duo-clarinet pieces (Vincenzo Perrone's playing nicely contrasting with his teacher's) and the superficial brilliance of Ponchielli's show piece, and (a critic speaking here) would have preferred instead the Bliss clarinet quintet to have been given complete.

An inspiring evening for those of us whose energy and stamina, inlike Gervase's, has diminished with age.


© Peter Grahame Woolf