Carl Nielsen. Clarinet as you have never heard before.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While you can listen to extracts of Aron Copeland's Clarinet Concerto and Lutoslawski's Dances, you must buy the CD to hear Carl Nielsen's Clarinet Concerto. I first listened to this concert in a radio broadcast back in 1959 when I was 15. It sent chills down my back. It still does when I listen to it. I bought my first 33 vinyl with this concerto and Nielsen's flute concerto, and got my high school teacher to play it in class. It sent chills down my classmates back, most hated it as they wanted Elvis, but my teacher loved it. This is Carl Nielsen's - the great Scandinavian composer at his most outrageous but also interesting. The sparseness but beauty of the string orchestration, the constant infiltration of the snaredrum and the domination of the clarinet, makes this amazing post-modernistic clarinet concert unique. It has new twists to the already heard greatness in his outstanding 5th of 6th symphonies, and also his famous Quintet for Winds (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Basoon & Horn) composed in 1922. Here Nielsen promised each of the first players of his Quintet for Winds that he would compose them a full fledged concert for each of their instruments. Alas Nielsen only managed his very lyric but oh so humouristic Flute Concerto in 1926, and this Clarinet Concerto before his death in 1931. But what a way to go (to heaven?), where he hopefully is still composing the promised concertos for Oboe, Basoon and French Horn. So we have something to look forward to when we go there. I am sure Benny Goodman, who also recorded this concerto earlier, is practising these instruments so he can play them for us if we manage to get the ticket. Play this concerto loud in an enclosed room, let your dog and kids out to play, and let me know your comments. This could have been named a Concerto for Snare Drum as well. Why has none of the 2000th century composers managed to copy Nielsen's finesse & great technique with snare-drum in classic music? You tell me.Kim B"
A smidge of a rant...
Ozmodiar68 | Buckhannon, WV | 01/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm going to rant for a bit on Ms. Hilton's playing in the Nielsen. I should state that I do enjoy this recording for its breadth of literature. Certainly it is a very intense recital and one which, for the most part, is performed admirably. Except for the Nielsen. Considered one of the more difficult pieces written for clarinet, this towering concerto is a test of any clarinetist's stamina and technique. Ms. Hilton, while clearly gifted, doesn't do anything for my greater appreciation of the piece. Considering what Nielsen wrote and to hear some of Ms. Hilton's interpretive choices, I'm left to wonder if there is any happy medium for the work. I've yet to find a recording that satisfies my desire for clean technical execution with tempo and cadenza interpretation that doesn't feel rushed or spastic. Ms. Hilton seems to forget that accuracy is important and borders on technical murder with a tempo that, while putting many a clarinetist to shame, also nearly kills the piece. I don't want to say that her playing feels uncontrolled; she seems well in command of her faculties, yet I can't help feeling that if she'd backed off the tempo a bit, we'd have here a recording of fantastic quality. I'm not looking for a Benny Goodman interpretation, with the tempo one metronome marking above death, nor am I looking for a tempo one click under a clear day on the Autobahn (which is what we have here). I just want control and accuracy TOGEHTER! Is that too much to ask?"