Albinoni, Mozart, Gershwin, etc

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COMPOSERS: Albinoni,etc,Gershwin,Mozart
LABELS: ASV
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Clarinet Masquerade
WORKS: Works by Albinoni, Mozart, Gershwin,
PERFORMER: Thurston Clarinet Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CD WHL 2076 DDD
The Thurston Clarinet Quartet (named after a distinguished British clarinettist of the first half of the century) was formed at the Royal College of Music in 1985. Its members, drawing on piccolo and bass clarinets, as well as basset-horn and the standard B flat, have played regularly on Radios 2 and 3 over the years, offering lighter fare as well as transcriptions of the classical repertoire and some newly commissioned pieces.

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A wide selection of music is represented here, from laid-back versions of pop classics such as ‘Misty’, ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ and ‘Summertime’, to arrangements of a Mozart divertimento and a string sonata by Albinoni (he of the spurious Adagio). Ferenc Farkas’s own reworking of his Ancient Hungarian Dances for wind quintet is particularly spicy, and a couple of lightweight French works, by Henri Tomasi (1901-71) and Dukas-pupil Yvonne Desportes (born 1907), as well as an amiable Serenade by the forgotten German clarinettist and composer Robert Stark (1847-1922), demonstrate that there is a repertoire for such unusual forces if you dig for it.

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This is smooth and adept ensemble playing, showing considerable sensitivity to balance. Addicts of the instrument’s mellow timbre will find much to enjoy. George Hall