4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Daniel R. Coombs
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The new Naxos disc featuring David Singer playing the Copland "Clarinet Concerto" as well as the fairly recent concerto by Robert Livingston Aldridge is an absolute 'must-have' for clarinetists and fans of modern masterpieces! (Naxos 8.559667) is the chair of the music department at Montclair State University, New Jersey and a graduate of Yale University and the New England Conservatory. Aside from the fact that I am a clarinetist always on the lookout for new, exciting works, I would love to discover more of Aldridge's music based just on this one, wonderful piece. The Clarinet Concerto, written for David Singer, principal clarinetist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is a captivating work and terrific addition to the clarinet repertoire. Each of the three movements, marked "fast and light", "with serene and steady motion" and "fast, bold and animated", is well crafted and a joy to listen to. The first movement is marked by a lyrical feel in spite of the propulsive nature, featuring some exciting percussion ostinati. The middle movement is very jazz lyrical in its feel, composed on some rising melodic material. The finale is quite virtuostic including some very tricky rhythms and altissimo playing. Both of the last movements also include some very "klezmer like" passages, handled adroitly but not in a parodying way by David Singer and his very skilled, musical playing. I think the Aldridge "Concerto" is a wonderful piece that all clarinetists should seek out and give some performances to! The Copland "Concerto" has become easily one of the best known and most often played clarinet concertos of all time, probably second only to the Mozart. It has also been recorded many times. Among the very best, for one reason or another, are the Benny Goodman original, along with those by Stanley Drucker, David Shifrin and even Sabine Meyer. Howard, David Singer has given a very warm, relaxed and empathetic performance that ranks with any of them. Singer has a very open, liquid tone and phrases things very well. Too many performers take the piece (esp the cadenza) too fast - perhaps because they can - that robs the notes of their melodic context and makes this beautiful, perky and style driven masterpiece seem rushed. Singer plays beautifully and his rendition that clearly seems relaxed and flowing gets at the heart of the music itself. Aldridge's "Samba" for clarinet and string quartet is a brief, cute and engaging little gem, also somewhat jazz inspired, and well played by the Shanghai Quartet. David Singer and the composers are the stars of this disc but the youthful and conductor-less "Far Cry Orchestra" deserve kudos for a wonderful performance as well!