Clarinet concertos by Sholdice and Mozart in Christ Church

Ergodos present a major new work by director/composer Garrett Sholdice to be premiered at Dublin’s Christ Church in June. The work is called Am Obersee, a clarinet concerto written for Jonathan Sage that will be a companion piece to the Mozart concerto (‘the first ever clarinet concerto paired with the most recent clarinet concerto’), with which it will performed on the night.

Collaboration between Sholdice and Sage began a number of years ago, inspired by Sage’s approach to performance, and by his ‘basset clarinet’ edition of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto. The composer describes the ideas behind the work:

‘In our curation of Ergodos projects, myself and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly are often looking for ways to allow historical repertoire and very new music to be mutually illuminating. For example, the most recent Ergodos Musicians album (I Call to You) presents music that meditates deeply on a little organ piece by Bach, turning it ’round and ’round, reaching back into it’s history… In pairing the Mozart concerto with my new work, we hope that the audience will experience both works more intensely as a result.

The Mozart is an extremely famous piece of classical music — most of us instantly recognise its themes — but there are layers of beauty to the music that go way beyond its pretty tunes. My piece has a stillness to it — my piece is about finding a space and just being there, sitting still… I hope that the concentration and repose of my music will also allow the Mozart to “seep in” more than it otherwise might.

My work is composed for exactly the same forces as the Mozart concerto — the basic palette of colours is the same for both works, although the brushwork is very different. We hope that, through proximity, the audience will hear my work simply in terms of continuity of a practice, rather than anxious discourse with tradition (or worse, negation of tradition) as is sometimes the perception of the relationship of contemporary music to classical music.

The metaphor I use to describe my concerto (“sitting still in a space”) was inspired by a real experience of sitting still for a while in a very beautiful space —  a house designed by Mies Van Der Rohe (in the early 30s) overlooking Obersee, a lake in north-east Berlin. Hence the title: Am Obersee.’

The premiere of Sholdice’s Clarinet Concerto by Sage and the Ergodos Musicians, alongside the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, takes place at Christ Church on 7 June. For more information, see

Listen to Garrett Sholdice talk about the concert and new work

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