In 2007 Leonie Gerlach founded the "Duo Barifono" together with the American pianist Karen Tanaka. Their aim: to dedicate themselves specifically and intensively to the rarely performed repertoire for bass clarinet and piano. The artists want to broaden the circle of aficionados for this "Great Unknown" of the woodwinds. Leonie Gerlach and Karen Tanaka both provide the moderation for their concerts. With background information, anecdotes and quotes from historical figures, they bring the history of the bass clarinet closer to their audience.
The "Duo Barifono" mixes original compositions for the bass clarinet and piano (e.g., works by Schoeck, Bozza and Semler-Collery) with authorized arrangements (e.g., Hindemith and Martinu). Furthermore, the musicians perform their own arrangements, especially of literature for the cello and bassoon—instruments with registers similar to that of the bass clarinet. Their concert programs include classical and romantic music as well as jazz and modern sounds, and even tangos by Astor Piazzolla. A shared passion for opera led the "Duo Barifono" to the idea of playing condensed paraphrases of operas–a concept fitting to the history of the bass clarinet, since it was in the opera that the possibilities of the instrument were first recognized.
The "Duo Barifono" makes a point of showing off the romantic, original sound of the bass clarinet. That enables them to tap the full potential of the modern bass clarinet's tonal range, its extreme dynamics, and its variety of sound colors: from the velvety warmth or mysterious huskiness of its deepest range all the way to the luminous brilliance of its highest; from bell-like vehemence to the most virtuosic flexibility.
Audio and Video
© 2009-2021 by Leonie Gerlach Photos: Janos Ecseghy