The Virtuoso Clarinet
Virtuosity is at the heart of this appealing, exhilarating disc: the collaborative, almost competitive bravura of Weber’s Grand Duo Concertant no less than the solo display of André Messager’s test-piece Solo de concours or Donato Lovreglio’s Fantasia on themes from La traviata.
The latter 19th-century extravaganza is matched with a mid-20th-century successor in Alamiro Giampieri’s Carnival of Venice, and even a 21st-century counterpart in Simon Milton’s Carmen Fantasy. And the programme’s rounded out by arrangements: Darius Milhaud’s own reworking of his Brazilian-tinged Scaramouche, James Cohn’s idiomatic transcription of Gershwin’s three piano Preludes, and, in quieter mood, David Campbell’s adaptation of Rachmaninov’s lovely Vocalise.
Michael Collins first recorded the Weber, Messager and Lovreglio back in 1992, for a long-deleted EMI recital disc. This time round, he lives up to the standards he set then, both in technical ease and in subtlety of phrasing. Piers Lane makes a stalwart contribution. Anthony Burton