You have a very extensive, wide-ranging discography. What excites you now and what else do you want to record?
I’ve already made many CDs. Of course, there are still pieces worth recording, but I’m increasingly convinced that live concerts are the more beautiful and vivid art form. Having said that, I do have new recordings in the pipeline, such as my next CD featuring Franz Schubert’s Octet.
Sabine Meyer. Photo © Thomas Rabsch, EMI Classics
The clarinet has been described as a ‘background’ instrument. Do you agree?
There’s no such thing as a ‘background’ instrument. Every instrument sometimes accompanies and then has the lead voice again. The clarinet, for instance, has played an important leading role in the orchestra since Mozart’s time. For wind players, there’s actually nothing better than performing in a very good orchestra.
What drew you to the Alliage Quintett with its unique line-up of four saxophones and a grand piano, and how did you come up with the programme for Musica Viva?
The initiative for this project came from the Alliage Quintett. I was delighted because I’m a huge fan of the saxophone (my father was a pianist, clarinettist and saxophonist). Together, we worked to prepare an exciting and virtuosic programme. Each person contributed ideas and quickly realised that ‘fairy tale’ works like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas or Stravinsky’s Firebird were especially well suited to this instrumentation. The saxophones cover the entire range from bass to soprano, the clarinet adds the highest layers and certain virtuosic effects, and the piano provides contouring and clarity. The saxophone and clarinet can express so many different colours, moods and shadings. They’re a wonderful match for this programme.
What do you like about playing with smaller ensembles?
In small groups, it’s very important that you get along with each other. Then the music-making is highly inspiring because you can explore and integrate a range of subtleties into your performance.
You’ll be playing Shostakovich’s rarely heard Five Pieces. Why did you include it?
We included these Shostakovich works in the programme to add moments of peace and intimacy between the ‘highlights.’ It is such wonderful, refined music and we play it in a variety of smaller groups, which adds to its audience appeal.
Sabine Meyer and the Alliage Quintett will be on national tour for Musica Viva from February 23 – March 12.