MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

purchase through CCNow

Phyllis TATE (1911-1987)
Sonata for clarinet and cello (1947)
Air and Variations for violin, clarinet and piano (1957)
Three pieces for solo clarinet (1980)
Karel HUSA (b 1921)

Évocations de Slovaquie for clarinet, viola and cello
Ingolf DAHL (1912-1970)

Concerto a Tré for clarinet, violin and cello (1947)
Lee Carroll (clarinet)
Roy Christensen (cello)
Christian Teal (violin)
Rebecca Culnan (violin)
Craig Nies (piano)
Virginia Christensen (viola)
Recorded (? 1989)
GASPARO GSCD 330 [77.01]


The bulk of this enterprising disc is given over to Phyllis Tate whose 1947 Sonata for Clarinet and Cello is the most substantial work here. In four movements this slightly unusual combination proves highly effective as a means of conveying those pensive asymmetries that stud the slow opening movement. The melancholy implicit in the writing is dispelled by the perky martial drama of the Vivo before the renewed depth of the Sarabande. This is suffused with keening exchanges between the two instruments and, although they gather momentum, one or other of the protagonists remains in a state of withdrawal throughout. After this Tate strikes a note of colour and verve with a "scary movie" theme full of menacing ostinati – and then we’re off on a jaunty waltz with its admixture of Prokofiev-like strut.

Her Air and Variations dates from a decade later. There’s some soaring lyricism for the clarinet in the Aubade-like First Variation and another pretty waltz in the succeeding variation (in which the violin is slightly too backwardly balanced). But all the movements of this work are immediately attractive, from the Serenade to the Fourth Variation with its flighty violin and clarinet exchanges and rather more serious march section. The Three Pieces were written for the 1980 National Clarinet Competition for Young People and though short they are deft and characterful studies, taxing to play but rewarding I should think – and enjoyable.

Karel Husa’s Évocations de Slovaquie is undated here but presumably was written during his stay in Paris between the years 1946 and 1954. The Mountains is the name of the first movement – not necessarily the Tatras though the complex swirling momentum does evoke energised excitement. Night, the slow movement, is by absolute contrast inward and intense, austere and rapt and splendidly sustained. The Dance is the finale – opening with alternatingly stern and driving industry propelled wither by the string pizzicati or by the clarinet – the finish is a real triumphant flourish.

Ingolf Dahl, German born, is the only one of the trio of composers here who can be relatively accurately analysed stylistically. He was firmly in the neo-classical tradition, a fine interpreter of Stravinsky and his Concerto a Tré shows him in the best possible light. It’s idiomatically written, spruce in profile, with especially fine violin writing. It’s also humorous and eventfully lively – with an essentially open-air and warm-hearted profile.

Performances are excellent with Lee Carroll Levine bearing her responsibilities as clarinettist with unflinching insight. A black mark to the American booklet writer - if Prague is in the Balkans then New York is the capital of Canada. Otherwise an enthusiastic welcome.

Jonathan Woolf


MusicWeb offers the entire Gasparo catalogue


Error processing SSI file

Return to Index

Error processing SSI file