Bacri, Connesson & Girard

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COMPOSERS: Bacri,Connesson & Girard
LABELS: Clarinet Classics
WORKS: Im Volkston; Divertimento, Op. 37b; Concerto da camera, Op. 61; Adams Dances, Op. 35/3. Disco toccata. Trio for clarinet, viola & piano
PERFORMER: Philippe Cuper (clarinet), Marianne Piketty (violin), Noëlle Santos (viola), Eric Watelle (cello), Cécile Hugonnard-Roche (piano); Collegium Instrumentale Brugense/Patrick Peire
CATALOGUE NO: CC 0043
The leading figure in this anthology of recent French music featuring the clarinet is Nicolas Bacri, born in 1961 and stylistically conservative, with a frequently engaging turn of phrase. His newest work is a Concerto da camera with string orchestra, not without virtuosity, but with a surprising emphasis on slow music. Similarly, a Divertimento with string trio has a slow, wistful middle movement and a slow, quiet ending; and a second Divertimento with violin and cello, called Im Volkston, includes an extended and rather lovely Berceuse alongside several much shorter dance movements. Bacri’s Adams Dances, a homage to John Adams with viola and piano, and Guillaume Connesson’s Disco toccata, with cello, are no more than sound-bites, albeit tasty ones. But Anthony Girard’s Trio, with viola and piano, extends the clichés of minimalism into a single span of over 17 minutes.

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In all this, Philippe Cuper shows his mastery of the clarinet in all registers and at all dynamic levels, and he is well supported by his colleagues, especially the impressive Bruges string orchestra. The Concerto was recorded live at the 1999 World Clarinet Festival in Ostend; the chamber items two years later in an over-resonant Paris studio. Anthony Burton