Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Y is for Yost

Not much is known about the French clarinet virtuoso Michel Yost.  Born in Paris in 1754, he showed an early aptitude in music.  His father was a military trumpeter, and young Michel learned the musical basics from military instructors.  While his studies began with the oboe, he switched to clarinet under the tutelage of the German clarinetist Johann Joseph Beer.  He gave his first concert as a soloist in 1777 at the Paris Concerts Spirituels, and critics noted that he possessed a fluid style and his sound was highly melodious.

In the following decade he became one of the most popular clarinet soloists in Paris, performing with many ensembles, and was better known by his first name even outside of France.  It was his musical brilliance that partly caused the demand for clarinet music to increase.  Although he had no formal training in composition he still created fourteen concertos for clarinet and orchestra, as well as many chamber pieces that featured the instrument.

He also passed his knowledge to others through teaching; one of his students, Xavier Lefevre, went on to become the first professor of clarinet at the Paris Conservatory and was highly influential to the following generation.  Yost died suddenly in 1786 in Paris at the young age of thirty-two.

Here is the first movement of Yost's Concerto No. 11 in B-flat Major for Clarinet and Orchestra.
Allegro - Concerto No. 11 in B-flat Major

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