WORKS: Clarinet Concerto; Two Pieces for String Orchestra,Concerto for Strings,Adagio for Strings
PERFORMER: Karin Dornbusch (clarinet); Musica Vitae/Peter Csaba
CATALOGUE NO: CAP 21591
This unusual combination offers two well-known works alongside Copland’s rarely played Two Pieces for String Orchestra and Ginastera’s Concerto for Strings, both of which are worth discovering. The Ginastera is a particularly exciting piece which exploits the string orchestra to the full and reveals the composer as an individual voice. The playing here is committed and passionate, resulting in a performance which puts a convincing case for wider recognition of this work. Similar qualities are invested in Barber’s celebrated Adagio for Strings, so often played too slowly, but here taken at a tempo which allows the lines to unfold more naturally.
The Copland Clarinet Concerto is less successful, suffering from a self-conscious and contrived approach by the soloist. The beautiful opening slow section is played very seductively, yet seems to miss the lyrical simplicity which its dedicatee, Benny Goodman, brings in his recording. In the second movement, Karin Dornbusch adopts the familiar but misguided view of so many straight players that, because the piece is jazz influenced, it is necessary to introduce glissandi and smears at will. This completely misses the point since Goodman craved a serious reputation in the concert hall and never played his commissions with jazz inflections unless specified. Tim Payne