This young clarinettist plays with an intensity that can be achieved only by great musicians. Warm in the low register, penetrating even in the pianissimo, and bitter but also sweetly pleasing in the upper register. There is no uniform sound, like the sound other clarinet players strive for, but rather a balanced variety of sound colours. Bekavac was convincing in his ability to broaden the world of Mozart’s A major and to let the seemingly simple melody swell to cosmic proportions. Not through loudness or virtuoso splendour, but quite the contrary, with the power of expression, in which piano echoes louder than fortissimo ever could.
(Helmut Mauro, Süddeutsche Zeitung)
Starry Hours of Chamber Music
At the Schloss Schleisheim summer concerts, Mate Bekavac showed himself to be a clarinet player for whom one could dare to prophesy that he might become one of the best of his time. But that he already is.
(A. K. Gottwald, Süddeutsche Zeitung)
... Due to his interpretation, Mate Bekavec might one day be called the Paganini of the clarinet …
An endless song
Through Bekavac’s genius and instrument, the rejuvenating Mozartian unity of the diverse in one of the composer’s last masterpieces was even increased, as an “endless song” – using the artist’s own (!) words from the concert programme. In his interpretation, this »song« is a fusion of: movement, blossoming figuration and levitating cantilena speaking through the ages, through the worlds – in terms of tone and repetitive ornamentation, Bekavac creates the theme of the second movement with an almost unreal legato, reincarnating, so it seems, the art of the castrati – , of the female and the male, i.e. of tone registers (ranges), whose coexistence would not be expected, though they can be joined by a single gesture, the virtuoso »turn«. Indeed: the basset clarinet gives the concerto a manly foundation. With Bekavac, it is a delicate one. His Mozart is neither cheerful (mischievous) nor melancholic, but rather unspeakably soft and clear. Heart-warming.
(Delo, Jure Dobovišek)
A Man with a Future - A Brilliant Concert by Mate Bekavac
As soon as flutist Irena Grafenauer had blown her last notes, she hastily joined the audience to lend her ear to her chamber music partner’s solo performance. He is her fellow countryman, Slovene, a young clarinet player. His name: Mate Bekavac. Never heard? This is going to change. His debut at the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele music festival was undoubtedly brilliant. The future belongs to him. Bekavac played his solo piece, Im Freundschaft, composed in 1977 by Karlheinz Stockhausen, as a thrilling monologue. He made the most of the abilities of his instrument; from whispered pianissimo to rapid trills and runs, and of the ability to narrate about changing, approaching, and »friendship«.Well, could one argue, there are quite some excellent clarinet soloists, even younger ones. Among them, however, there are hardly any that are at the same time so predestined for chamber music. With a surprising maturity Bekavac integrated himself into the established duo of Irena Grafenauer (flute) and Maria Graf (harp). At all times founding the right balance, the twenty-one-year-old sometimes modestly held back and then again took an inspiring leadership. All the pieces of the evening thus made equal sense, whether the three interpreters played Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Trio Sonata in D minor in “sensitive style”, or a wild ritual dance by the Frenchman Henri Tomasi ...
(Ludwigsburgerzeitung, Stuttgarter Zeitung)
... This exceptional musician plays in a freely expressive line, in the rhetoric of the Classical – question-and-answer – discourse, often weightlessly and airily overflying.
(Anton Sergl, Süddeutsche Zeitung)
Pure Beauty in the Castle
Mate Bekavac and Münchner Kammersolisten performed Gioacchino Rossini’s Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra. It is utterly incomprehensible what this young man can do with his clarinet. For him, the incredibly virtuosic Rossini’s Variations were not enough; he included a cadenza of his own, so embellished with virtuosic tone painting, rhythmically electrifying and witty ideas, and pulled out all the stops of his clarinet, that the final applause was like a hurricane. Time has after all not come to a standstill; something like this has not yet been heard and experienced at the Schloss Dachau concerts.
(A. K. Gottwald, Süddeutsche Zeitung)
... Mate Bekavac alone as a full Tango orchestra ...
... enormously hot-blooded, powerful musician ...
Clarinetist Mate Bekavac, who comes from Ljubljana, is still a blank slate, but such a one that does the trick. With a shining technique, he is an organic, melodious performer, especially when playing the last one of the innumerable fizzing Danzi runs, a powerful free musician in “American style”. Both are true clarinet alternatives: the soloist and Copland’s Concerto.
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
The highlight of Wednesday’s concert was the absolutely superb performance of Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto by a young Slovene. His spectrum of expression ranges from a lyrical clarinet song to an exaggerated fortissimo and to a bit of klezmerian greasiness in the finale. Those for whom this is still too refined, could enjoy the clarinet encore, the attractively performed Tango-Etude No. 3 by Astor Piazolla, which probably allows for some delicately impolite musical roughness.