Just the mouthpiece left for this clarinet composition

Clarinet to be disassembled during humorous piece

You can enjoy the lighter side of classical music at a recital next week to launch Place des Arts’ year of humour.

German pianist Trang-Tina Nguyen will be joined by Francois Houle on clarinet for the first classic concert of the season at the Coquitlam facility.

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Nguyen, who moved to Vancouver with her fiancé in January 2018 and started teaching at Place des Arts last September, said she met Houle in Vancouver as he was preparing to relocate to Switzerland.

Houle, a faculty member at the Vancouver Community College School of Music, returns to Canada regularly to play shows in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

Among the pieces the pair will perform Oct. 19 is a standard for Houle: Immer Kleiner — Always Smaller, described as a humorous clarinet fantasy that “should only be played during a waning moon,” the composer Adolf Schreiner instructs.

About five minutes long, the composition sees the clarinetist disassemble the instrument, beginning with the bell and ending with the mouthpiece.

It will be Nguyen’s first attempt at Immer Kleiner. For Houle, though, “he always has such a blast performing it. People always laugh,” she said.

It’ll complete the program that starts with Saint-Säens’ The Cook in the Depths of the Woods (from The Carnival of the Animals) and continues with D’Rivera’s Two Pieces for Clarinet and Piano; Scaramouche for Clarinet and Piano by Milhaud; Saint-Säens’ The Swan; Duo Brillant for clarinet and piano in B-flat major, Opus 130 by Reissiger; and Gershwin’s Preludes for Piano.

Nguyen said the concert is open to anyone wanting a good laugh.

For tickets at $21/$16, call Place des Arts (1120 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam) or visit brownpapertickets.com

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