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Alter Ego (Orlowsky/Bergmüller)

David Orlowsky (clarinet), David Bergmüller (lute) (Warner Classics)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Alter Ego
Works by Bergmüller, Dowland, Kapsburger, Purcell et al
David Orlowsky (clarinet), David Bergmüller (lute)
Warner Classics 9029630790   43:22 mins

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Alter Ego heralds a new collaboration between clarinettist David Orlowsky and lutenist David Bergmüller. The seductive clarinet/lute combination recalls chalumeau and lute timbres championed by early-18th-century opera composers like Francesco Conti. Arrangements of 16th- and-17th-century music by Purcell, Dowland, Preston and Kapsberger are juxtaposed with new works by Orlowsky and Bergmüller.

Four Purcell tracks effectively capture sentiments expressed in their sung texts: the clarinet’s vocalise personifying Queen Dido’s sorrow, and (in Mighty Powers) the torment felt by the Inca princess Orazia. In Music for a While delicate soft dynamics draw us in, although the turbulent rhapsodic element pushes stylistic parameters a mite too far. Imaginative and evocative detached timbres capture the frosty atmosphere of Cold Song, a feature we also hear in the duo’s own Zeitfaltung. Among the other original pieces, Eileen has already enjoyed acclaim as the soundtrack to the short film celebrating centenarian dancer/choreographer Eileen Kramer. Napoli Sketch 2 showcases Orlowsky’s flexible Klezmer-influenced sound and the closing Toccata blends the two instruments in a gratifying symbiosis.

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Ingrid Pearson