Ronn YEDIDIA (b.1960)
World Dance [8:31]; Farewell, Nathaniel [7:40]; Poème [13:02]; Nocturne [7:28]; Concertino* [17:44]; Impromptu [5:51]
Alexander Fiterstein (clarinet); Ronn Yedidia (piano); *Arnaud Sussmann (violin), Melissa Reardon (viola) and Nicholas Canellakis (cello)
rec. 25-27 October 2010, Performing Arts Centre, Purchase, New York
NAXOS 8.559699 [60:43] 

Ronn Yedidia is a name that is new to me. His music has, apparently, been acclaimed for its vitality, variety and imagination. Judging from this excellent CD there is no doubt that his compositions for clarinet are melancholic, touching and intimate. The music is tonal, romantic, well-crafted and tuneful. There is also a tremendous zip to the dance rhythms especially in the opening piece, World Dance. The ear is treated to a varied and interesting flow of music. The composer’s influences are obvious whether it be motifs taken from Arab, Spanish, Jewish or Eastern European sources. There’s nothing especially innovative or original here but it’s very attractive. 

Nocturne and World Dance were written for the birth of friends’ new-born twins. For some strange reason the three movements are not recorded as a single work but split up and presented as tracks 1, 4 and 6. The Impromptu is a miniature of real beauty, clearly inspired by Chopin and this is followed by a contemplative Nocturne with its long legato melody bringing to mind the world of one of Satie’s Gymnopédies. The final World Dance is an enjoyable, tuneful romp. 

Farewell, Nathaniel
ismy own personal favourite on the CD. Written following the loss of one of Ronn Yedidia’s closest friends and colleagues the music is lyrical but it also has an underlying sadness. This is very touching with a haunting feeling of regret. The gentle impact on the listener readily brings to mind the feelings engendered by Jewish music such as the theme music from the film Schindler’s List

is the composer’s first work for clarinet and piano. The style is gentle and impressionistic with an animated central section. This is another well written piece but maybe it outstays its welcome at 13 minutes. The material really only justifies 6 or 7 minutes, to be frank.
The clarinet and piano are joined by a string trio in the headily romantic Concertino. The three minute clarinet cadenza at the centre of the work is delivered brilliantly. Either side of the cadenza we are treated to an opening movement containing lyrical and dynamic sections and a driven, exciting finale that dances its way to a thrilling conclusion. Yet again, in the Concertino, there are obvious influences to be heard from Jewish, Middle Eastern and Balkan sources.
This disc is clear evidence that the art of writing good tunes is still alive and well. The performances are exemplary. This is a fine example of truly world class clarinet playing at its peak. Mr Fiterstein is very well supported by the composer at the piano. The string players match their colleagues in all respects and the Concertino is delivered with brio and conviction. Recording quality is clear, forward and detailed. A very fine disc indeed.  

John Whitmore 

Tuneful and delightful.