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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Richard Stoltzman, Resolve, Hindemith, Masterworks for Clarinet

Legendary clarinetist Richard Stoltzman tackles Hindemith masterworks for clarinet? Yes, on Resolve (Navona 5934), a brand-new release that makes perfect sense and comes through with what it promises.

Hindemith was never one to neglect the winds. He wrote sonatas and/or concertos for an amazingly diverse number of soloists. His works for clarinet and various ensembles are especially fine.

Richard Stoltzman gives us state-of-the-art performances of three of those works: the "Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra", the "Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet, op. 30", and the "Sonata for Clarinet and Piano". The sonata is particularly delightful, definitive. The other works get excellent consideration.

Each has a special character and a modernist zeal coupled with attention to form that is a hallmark of Hindemith in his mature period. The clarinet parts are far from easy, but most importantly they give a master soloist the chance to bring out the colors inherent in the various registers and dynamic levels. Maestro Stoltzman delivers a beautifully nuanced rendition of all three works. The instrumental partnership/accompaniment has the proper energy and zest in every case: Yehudi Wyner on piano (an extraordinary presence on the sonata, a wonderful composer in his own right); TASHI on the quintet; and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra under Kirk Trevor for the concerto.

In short Stoltzman scores a knock-out here. The versions are distinct enough that they give you singularity even if you already have these works in your collection. If you don't, you should. Either way this is an essential recording!

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