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World Wide Webster
The Webster Trio plays Dvořák, Debussy, Brahms and Gottschalk

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)

Slavonic Dances arranged Webster
Op.46 No.6
Op.46 No.8
Op.72 No.4
Op.72 No.5
Op.72 No.6
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

Petite Suite (1889) arranged Webster
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Hungarian Dances arranged Webster
Nos. 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 16, 21
Louis Moreau GOTTSCHALK (1829-1869)

La Jota Aragonesa (1851) arranged Webster
Souvenir de la Havane (1859) arranged Webster
Souvenir de Cuba (1860) arranged Webster
Grande Tarantelle arranged Webster
The Webster Trio - Leone Buyse (flute), Michael Webster (clarinet) Robert Moeling (piano)
Recorded in Stude Hall, Rice University, May 2002
CRYSTAL RECORDS CD 357 [64.22]


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The salon ensemble of flute, clarinet and piano can be a difficult one to balance especially in this kind of repertoire. There’s also the question of sonority and the kind of weight of ensemble that can be achieved, especially in the more vigorous and eventful Hungarian and Slavonic Dances. These problems are by and large well met in these arrangements by clarinettist Michael Webster, whose eponymous trio must be cringing at the god-awful pun that gives the album its title. Maybe not though – they seem to be able to take a joke, judging from their humorous cover grins.

Webster’s arrangements and transcriptions work well enough in these mini-me reductions. There is nice flute in the Op.46 No.8 Dvořák and light, bouncing rhythm from the trio in the Poco adagio, Op.72 No.5. The highlight of the Debussy is the delightfully appealing Cortège and of the Brahms I suspect the naughtiness of the Sixth will hit the hardest. No.5 though is too fast and not witty. For more specialist tastes – the non-tea room brigade (not that I’m suggesting that this is exclusively Lyons Corner House material) - then it’s the Gottschalk that will be of most interest. The glittery embellishments and decorative right hand piano roulades that lace La Jota Aragonesa are full of evocative legerdemain. The Souvenir de la Havane moves via Habanera rhythm from darkness to light and there’s fine drive and sway in the Chopinesque Souvenir de Cuba, written in 1860.

So a fine idea well executed and recorded with the usual array of non-pompous and helpful notes by Webster himself – it’s a Crystal speciality often to get the performers to write notes. Good fun.

Jonathan Woolf

 



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