WORKS: Clarinet Sonatas; Clarinet Trios
PERFORMER: Deborah de Graaff (clarinet) Len Vorster (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: WAL 8017-2 DDD
Australian clarinettist Deborah de Graaff offers a recital of mostly very light pieces grouped into British, Australian, French and American sets. She avoids the more substantial side of the repertoire and concentrates, with one or two exceptions, on easy listening works which will no doubt prove popular with some listeners. The performances are generally committed and expressive, though there is a tendency to play flat.
However, since it contains several works which are unknown to most, the disc is worth hearing. The collection played by Marcel Luxen is very uneven, with the renditions of the two trios (Milhaud and Stravinsky) proving far superior to the three clarinet sonatas. The playing is often bland and listeners may at times be distracted by the extraneous breath noise from the clarinettist.
The most convincing of the three sonatas is the Bernstein (a piece that should be heard more often) whilst the Poulenc is given a very uninteresting performance. The two trios, however, are very well played and should delight those who do not know them. The disc is also marred by an exceptionally over-resonant recording resulting in notes blurring into one another. Tim Payne