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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ferruccio & Ferdinando Busoni, Complete Music for Clarinet, Davide Bandieri

When I think of wonderful music for clarinet in a chamber context, my mind goes to Mozart, Schubert (in a lieder arrangement), Brahms . . . and then I skip ahead to Hindemith. Now that there is a very nice recording of Ferruccio (& Ferdinando) Busoni's Complete Music for Clarinet (Brilliant 2-CD 94978) I have something really good to fill that gap from the late 19th-early 20th century.

It turns out that Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) wrote a good deal of excellent music for the instrument. There are even two additional short pieces by his father Ferdinando, who was himself an acclaimed clarinetist as well as composer. We get all of it on the Brilliant set, played quite nicely by Davide Bandieri.

In all there are 13 works represented, many for clarinet and piano, a few for clarinet and string quartet, and the "Concertino Op. 48" for clarinet and small orchestra.

The music is invariably rich and inventive with a genuine feel for the various clarinet registers and their special qualities. It is music of a substantial sort, not especially modernistic but neo-classicist as much as late romantic.

It is music to entrance. Davide Bandieri triumphs in his role and his chamber cohorts sound well. The quality of the recording leaves nothing to be desired.

I knew nothing of this music until now. I must say I am impressed with it. It holds its own and gives us a side of Busoni that is very welcome, especially to anyone who loves the clarinet in a chamber context.

The Brilliant releases are often enough exceptional and they are at a nice price. This one has much music and it is uniformly excellent. So get it if you like the idea of it! You will likely not be disappointed.

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