ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Italian Music for Clarinet and Piano
WORKS: Clarinet Sonata in D; Suite; Elegie; Fantasia; Clarinet Sonata
PERFORMER: Dmitri Ashkenazy (clarinet)Vovka Ashkenazy (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 510 094
Stanley Drucker’s recital, including both familiar and less well-known works, contains some very fine playing from all participants. It is no surprise that Stanley Drucker is an extremely accomplished clarinettist displaying superb control in the altissimo register and exemplary intonation, and while his use of fast vibrato may not appeal to everyone his playing is very characterful and musical. Especially beautiful is Corigliano’s Soliloquy for clarinet and string quartet which, though strangely static, is very moving. At the other extreme, Poulenc’s Sonata for Two Clarinets is brilliantly exuberant, with a perfect blend between the players.
Though perhaps less individual in style, Dmitri Ashkenazy’s playing is equally impressive with faultless technique and intonation. His attractive choice of repertoire would interest all clarinet enthusiasts and makes one wonder why these works are so rarely heard. The overtly Brahmsian Sonata by Rota is a beautifully lyrical piece and played here with great warmth. Vovka Ashkenazy, brother of Dmitri and a well-respected soloist in his own right, is also a fine accompanist and makes virtuoso solo passages in Rossini’s Fantasia sound effortless. The most substantial work is the Sonata by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, which should prove a delight to all listeners. Tim Payne