…first in the shape of Meredith’s Origami Songs, originally for recorder and ensemble, but played in a larger version featuring two fiercely communicative solo clarinets (Timothy Orpen and Thomas Lessels). Devised with more than her usual degree of playful finesse, the piece gave the musicians ample chances to be colourful, propulsive and quick as lightning, all without a conductor’s aid.
Colourful, propulsive and quick as lightning
Stratford Herald, Peter Buckroyd
[..the Sacconi Quartet] were joined by Timothy Orpen for a lovely work premiered in 2014, Ian Venables’s Canzonetta for Clarinet and String Quartet Op 44. This beautifully shaped piece, characterised throughout by typically English falling phrases, featured Orpen’s gorgeous rich clarinet sound. Listening to this piece it was easy to understand why the Times described Orpen as a ‘blazing talent’.
Schubert’s Octet, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sage Gateshead
“Much of the instrumental writing [Strauss Till Eulenspiegel—einmal anders, arr. Hasenöhrl] is just as tortuous as in the original version, yet held no fears for the Academy musicians who served up a bravura and characterful reading. Clarinetist Timothy Orpen delivered a sassy and raucous portrait of the German trickster, with equally colorful playing by hornist Stephen Stirling and violinist Keller.”
“The Academy of St. Martin the Fields lived up to every definition of its name here Tuesday.
Like any good group or institution of higher learning, the ensemble drawn from the legendary London-based orchestra showed a Plymouth Church full of Cleveland Chamber Music Society patrons exactly how it’s done.
Of all the individual instruments of the orchestra, it’s probably the clarinet which exhibits the widest range of musical expression – played fortissimo, it can pierce through any surrounding textures, played pianissimo, it can vanish into the faintest whisper: at the top of it’s range, it can be bright, sunny, almost hysterical, yet in the lowest register, the sound can be haunting, threatening, or ineffably sad. So a concert of clarinet and piano music can cover not only the whole sound spectrum but also the widest range of emotional intensity.
“The winds were given chance to shine in Andre Caplet’s Piano Quintet, with flautist Juliette Bausor, oboist Steven Hudson, clarinettist Timothy Orpen and bassoonist Stephen Reay each given their say. The winds entwined sinuously in the slow movement, while generating sumptuous colours in the passionate chorale. The ensemble negotiated the finale at a blistering pace.”
“Florent Schmitt’s Sonatine en trio for flute, clarinet and piano features four short contrasting movements. Bausor, Orpen and Reid revelled in dazzling exchanges, providing perfect palate cleanser before Faure’s meaty Piano Quartet.”
“Lars Vogt, Royal Northern Sinfonia’s incoming music director, talked, played and conducted his way into the hearts of his new North East audience in a concert designed to showcase both his world-class skill as a pianist and the more recent expansion of his talents into conducting.
The Arts Desk, Geoff Brown
“Luckily, Orpen’s next appearance gave him room to show off skills other than simple agility. In Bartók’s Contrasts for clarinet, violin, and piano, he was the hottest dude on the block, hips wiggling, colours constantly morphing in a part originally written for jazz master Benny Goodman.”
Westmorland Gazette, Brian Paynes
“The temperature was considerably raised by a performance of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. Timothy Orpen, in full command of the soloist’s widely-ranging technical and emotional demands, was partnered in exhilarating fashion by a conductor-less sinfonia, dispatching the jazz-inspired textures with great aplomb.”
Royal Northern Sinfonia’s latest concert at Sage Gateshead was directed by violinist Kyra Humphreys, who opened proceedings with a magnificently moulded rendition of Barber’s Adagio for Strings …….
When not playing his clarinet, Timothy Orpen enjoys mountain climbing, having scaled peaks of 6000m in the Himalayas and Bolivian Andes. His latest onstage challenge saw him taking on one of the pinnacles for his instrument in the shape of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto.
Fans of American composers Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland must be in clover, with their music featuring in two concerts here within five days.
This time it was the turn of Barber’s famous Adagio for Strings and Copland’s less well-known Clarinet Concerto
The Northern Echo, Gavin Engelbrecht
ROYAL Northern Sinfonia’s latest chamber concert at Sage Gateshead placed the spotlight on music by composers from the British isles written in the early 20th century.
“In Appalachian Spring the [Aurora] orchestra dawned beautifully, before launching into lively reels, impassioned addresses and rich lush chorales. Timothy Orpen’s opening of the variations on Simple Gifts was beautifully judged, and the orchestra followed him in invoking pastoral scenes before closing the concert with a beautiful sunset.”
“MELODIC Magic, the BSO’s title for this first concert under its new collaboration with Classic FM, is spot on.
Jamie Crick, replete with electronic notepad-bringing a touch of 21st century modernity to what was a lovely, old-fashioned concert- provided the informative introductions.
Mozart, among the greatest masters of melody, clearly understood the sound-world of the basset clarinet, used here to gorgeous effect by soloist Timothy Orpen.
The Clarinet Concerto is among the best-loved and Orpen’s performance was the epitome of suave, lucidity; producing a rich lower register and distinctive tonal values.
Where the first movement was cheerfully flowing, the contrasting Adagio brought a liquid beauty to its romantic core.
His articulate finale engaged the operatic character and witty infusions with a real sense of joy.”
“Timothy Orpen proved himself a musician with a big future as soloist in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. The adagio ‘sang’ like an operatic aria and the outer movements brimmed with a blend of technical virtuosity and varied expressiveness.”