As you might know, I’m preparing my masters exam of clarinet performance. I’ll have to play two recitals, one in May, and one in June. One piece that will be one my June exam is Reflections (inner-space music) by the Belgian composer André Laporte. Another girl from the clarinet class, had been studying the piece with the contemporary music teacher, who personally knows the composer. And on his suggestion whe got in contact with Laporte, and were invited to his house. It was one of those striking musical and personal experiences that I’ll probably never forget.

It was a long journey there, especially because we had some problems with train delays (as always with Belgian trains), but we forgot all about that when we arrived and were warmly welcomed by André Laporte and his wife. My friend would be playing the piece to get some commentaries from the composers, but we first listened to Laporte’s favorite recording of the Reflections, an LP with Walter Boeykens from 1979, which was unfortunately never re-edited on cd. It might me partly because of the great set of speakers Laporte has in his home studio, but the sound quality was amazing. Of course, that was also to the merit of Boeykens, who really did play the piece beautifully.

After this, my friend performed the piece. When the performance was done, Laporte gave some general remarks about how the piece should sound (considering its title is Reflections, so it shouldn’t be too extroverted) and answered some specific questions that had risen while my friend was studying the piece. We listened to a recording of Stephan Vermeersch, of whom I will share a YouTube performance down here, and to finish this wonderful afternoon, whe where invited to coffee and cake.

I also found out that Mr. Laporte will be seated in the jury for my fugue exam. I guess that’s a positive thing, as I can be sure after meeting him that he will ask relevant and intelligent questions, something I’m really fond of. In general he seemed like a real intelligent, educated, and amiable person. I hope that maybe people will say that of me when I’m his age. He’s really a remarkable person. And after hearing the Reflections several times in one afternoon, I’ve already grown fond of the piece, and I found that little push I needed to start studying it (I was a bit held back before because of the difficulty, as I’ve never done a piece with contemporary effects before).

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