The presence of a couple of unfamiliar names shouldn’t act as
a deterrent; on the contrary it should act as a stimulant. But
if the thought of listening to over an hour of unfamiliar clarinet
music further weights things in favour of ‘pass’ well allow
me to steer you back. This is, on the contrary, a disc with
some very attractive and approachable music and where it’s not
always immediately attractive and approachable it’s intelligent
and thoughtful. It’s a disc that may well get lost in the marketplace
and that would be a shame.
was born in 1971 and studied instrumentation with Penderecki
and computer music in America. His Three Preludes were composed
when he was at the Szymanowski State Music College in 1990.
They’re very brief but immediately likeable. The first is lyrical,
capricious and entirely tonal. The second has a clearer eyed
lyricism perhaps, and is just as undoctrinaire and warm. The
last of the trio starts slowly but takes on a Francophile zip
– Poulenc might have liked it. There are three Quasi Kwazi
written variously between 1994 and ’97 for solo clarinet. Once
again they plough a wholly approachable furrow. The central
panel is a touch crepuscular whilst the last goes through contrasting
moods; plenty of trills, flourishes, assertive inner dialogues
and a fine exploration of colour.
The Korean composer
Isang Yun wrote Riul in rather harrowing circumstances.
He had been kidnapped and imprisoned by the South Korean secret
police in 1967 and spent around two years in prison. As a result
of the serious health problems he suffered he was hospitalised
and wrote Riul. International pressure led to his release
in 1969. It’s a long, sometimes demanding and gruelling work
ranging from plangent expressivity to imitations of the piri
– the Koran instrument similar to an oboe. He works from mosaics,
small incidents that interact and shed refractive thematic light
on each other. There are clarinet soliloquies of haunting compression
as well as a corresponding mobility of utterance. One feels
the clarinet is the authorial voice singing from the depths
but however deep those depths were or became this is no dirge.
Jarzyński proves a masterful guide and he also contributes
a composition of his own. Still young, he wrote Partita between
2004 – when he was twenty – and 2007. In five compact movements
this is a very satisfactory appropriation of semi-folkloric
and baroque elements – to which it alludes but doesn’t slavishly
imitate. Written for solo clarinet it therefore affords the
soloist opportunities to evoke a fantasia, cadential passages,
a sarabande and a gigue amongst others. Finally there is Paul
Patterson’s Conversations, written in 1974. Terse but not brittle
this is lit with Francophile touches. The slow movement enshrines
a reflective interior dialogue, full of suggestive colour and
more sombre moments for the clarinet. The finale lets down its
hair in unbridled, delightful fashion. Think; Milhaud, Bernstein,
Martinů. There are contrasts galore in this vital and imaginative
work that builds up and releases tension admirably and that
embodies its title splendidly.
This is an eager,
intelligently programmed recital. It offers plenty of attractive
music, plumbs depths, alludes historically and comes up with
the goods in terms of performances. Trilingual notes – Polish,
English, German – and a fine recording seal the deal.