Search MusicWeb Here

selling Internationaly

aSymphonies 1 and 5 £9.00 post free

See also Symphonies 2 and 3

Vision of Judgement £9 post free

New! CRD

Symphonies 1,2,4 £11.75 post free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider


  • Menuhin lost tapes
  • Overtures SACD
  • Krommer Flute Quartets
  • Schubert Piano Trios 2CD
  • Menuhin lost tapes

Let me tell you

David Pia

Beethoven Rattle

Highly Impressive

Matthews Shostakovich
Sheer delight!

To live with

outstanding retrospective

A superb celebration

flair, insight, controversy

outstanding singing


Sheer bliss

best thing I’ve heard this year

this really exciting release


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Ebony and Ivory : Works for Clarinet and Piano
Şerban NICHIFOR ( b.1954)
Two Dances for Andrew Simon (2003) [4:55]
Joseph HOROVITZ (b. 1926)
Two Majorcan Pieces (1956) [4:09]
Clarinet Sonatina (1981) [13:31]
Diversions on a Familiar Theme (1997) [7:46]
Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI ( 1913-1994)
Dance Preludes (1955) [11:03]
Arnold COOKE ( 1906-2005)
Clarinet Sonata in B flat (1959) [20:06]
Malcolm ARNOLD ( 1921-2006)
Clarinet Sonatina in G minor, op.29 (1951) [8:05]
Andrew Simon (clarinet)
Warren Lee (piano)
rec. Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth, Wales, 21-23 November 2012.
NAXOS 8.573022 [69:35]

To the non-specialist this may appear an unusual, if not lumpy, programme that U.S. clarinettist Andrew Simon, Hong Kong Philharmonic principal, has put together for his Naxos debut. The album title implies coherence, or at least yin and yang, but there is no immediately obvious thread linking composers whose names are by no means all universally recognised.
On the other hand, with experienced performers, a fairly generous running time and good sonics as givens, clarinet-lovers and performers at least will doubtless give the disc a try. They are unlikely to feel disappointed by a pleasing mixture of light and virtuosic. However, agnostics should be aware that Simon and Lee's recital has a good deal of the much-loved lyrical 19th or early 20th century - Weber, Spohr, Müller, Poulenc - feel about it. Only Lutosławski can be said to be a modernist, yet with his folk-inspired Dance Preludes, even he is part of what turns out to be a markedly terpsichorean theme.
In other words, this is after all a disc that can be enjoyed by all those whose tastes are centred on tonal, melodic, well-proportioned music. Cooke's and Arnold's are the standout works, arguably, but nothing in the recital is without interest or indeed a sense of humour and warmth.
Andrew Simon is a fine virtuoso, but he is also master of a very impressive tone which he applies to handsome expressive effect, even if his selection does lean towards the lighter side. Pianist Warren Lee is a poised accompanist throughout, but often much more - these are, after all, not 19th-century clarinet showpieces. His playing is certainly better than his writing - his booklet notes are enthusiastically informative, but sometimes overly so. For example, Nichifor is, alas, not well known at all, let alone "for his many compositions dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust". Lee also wanders a bit - Arnold's attachment to the trumpet is as tangential here as the elucidation of aleatoricism given under Lutosławski.
In a sense, Naxos have mistimed this release - Michael Collins and Michael McHale's programme for Chandos (CHAN 10758) came out only a few months earlier to justified acclaim, and included the works by Arnold, Cooke and Horovitz. In other words, clarinet fans may already have invested in most of this programme only a short while back and thus feel little inclination to pay out again already. Incidentally, the claim by the Naxos in-house reviewer that this recording "introduces to the record catalogue six 20th century works for clarinet and piano" is wildly inaccurate. The Arnold, Horovitz, Cooke and Lutosławski have all been recorded many times, staples of the clarinettist's repertory that they are.
As briefly mentioned above, sound quality is very good, although it must be said that a more intimate location than Wyastone Hall would have served the solo clarinet better. Nichifor's Two Dances in particular suffer somewhat from reverberation. Simon's breathing is also much more audible than it need be.  

Contact at