Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Brunner, Bavarian Radio Orchestra|
Hommage of Benny Goodman
Genres: Jazz, Classical
A great idea well done
Evan Wilson | Cambridge, Massachusetts United States | 01/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A disk of clarinet concertos commissioned by Benny Goodman is such a great idea one wonders why it hasn't been done before. Trust the intrepid Eduard Brunner to do it though. (He and Dieter Klocker seem to be the only clarinetists with any sense of exploration.)This disc brings together the lesser-known concertos of Milhaud and Hindemith with the well-known Copland concerto and that evergreen chestnut: Milhaud's Scaramouche. Dispensing with the better-known items first, you can find better performances of both the Copland and Scaramouche, but these are certainly enjoyable. Brunner plays well, although his tone is edgier than I like. The reason to get this disc is the Hindemith and Milhaud concertos which are rare on disc. The more "serious" of these pieces is clearly the Hindemith, although it is still in a lighter vein than much of Hindemith's work. There are several memorable tunes here and much interesting passagework, but this conecerto does suffer from the "grayness" of orchestration that afflicts much of Hindemith's oeuvre. Combined with his less than colorful harmonic sense, this imparts an academic quality to the music which undercuts the fun elements. It's still an interesting and entertaining work, but unless you love Hindemith, it's likely you'll program it out more often than you will play it.The Milhaud, however, is a piece you'll play often. This concerto is full of strikingly entertaining melodies ripe with the Brazilian rhythms one finds in this composer's music. Add in Milhaud's well-known bittersweet bitonality and the composer's upbeat personality and it's guaranteed you will be smiling at the end.The annotator wonders why this delightful piece isn't heard more often in concert. (Goodman set it aside without playing it.) The answer is obvious to anyone who has ever played a wind instrument. In 17 minutes of music, the clarinetist may have 10 bars of rest. Add in a generally high tessitura and this is absolutely brutal on the players lips and lungs. The recording studio offers a venue where the player can relax between takes, so recordings are likely the only place one will hear this piece. Why more recordings of it aren't available can only be chalked up to laziness among clarinettists.Brunner gives us a heroic (if that's this right word for such a sunny piece) performance. Still, there is more in this music (especially in the slow movement), than we get here. The only other recording I know of this (a Cybelia record long out of print), finds the clarinetist drawing out each movement slightly to revel in the harmonies and enjoy the interplay between soloist and players in the orchestra. Brunner seems a bit rushed to me. That said, I don't think we're likely to get another recording of this soon, so you should grab this one.The sonics are fine, although a bit distant which covers over some of the orchestral detail."