Mozart & Basset Clarinet

Taken from the June 7th, 2009

Clarinetist Mihael Paar & Zagreb Quartet – Croatian Quest for Authentic Mozart

Acclaimed Croatian Clarinetist Mihael Paar has recently attracted attention of the domestic public and critics for his integral performance of the Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet with the renowned Zagreb String Quartet. Moreover, this was the first such performance of the Quintet in Croatia with the soloist being the first Croatian Clarinettist ever to do so.

The young Croatian virtuoso was particularly honored when he received the invitation to perform at the Gala-opening of the Passion Heritage, a distinguished festival which annually takes place shortly before the eve of Easter in Zagreb and other Croatian cities. Together with his festival collaborator – famous Zagreb Quartet known as the Croatian oldest chamber ensemble and the oldest active string quartet in the world which is celebrating its 90th birthday in the course of 2009 – he decided to deliver a unique performance that has never been heard in Croatia before.

On March 29 2009 in one of the most beautiful Croatian baroque churches – St. Catherine’s, in the historical Zagreb Upper Town – the artists opened the Festival and gave the Croatian integral Premiere of Mozart’s beloved Clarinet Quintet K581. To achieve that, Mihael Paar played on the so-called basset clarinet, a special type of the clarinet required for the performance of Mozart’s late clarinet works, most notably for his above-mentioned Quintet and Concerto K622. The instrument is of a rare kind, it was built in Paris specially for him and requires a distinguished performing technique. It recaptures the compas and the sound of the late 18th century clarinet.

The reviews following the concert praised Paar’s warm and rounded sound. The Vjesnik Herald writes:

“Mr. Paar treated us with the noble sound of his basset clarinet and with snappy leaps of its extended compass“

while Croatian Radio reports:

“Outstanding intonation, superb technique, great dynamic range“