This CD fell a bit short of my initial expectations, and countless listenings later it is still disappointing, especially considering the talent of the soloist. Mr. Shifrin, an A-level musician, only manages a "B" performance here. It isn't by any means a bad recording, but it could have been better. Shifrin is perhaps best known for his velvety warm tone and bel canto, singing style of playing, but I actually found those to be the weak points of this particular recording. His usual warm tone is colder and more "brittle" sounding than usual, and his intonation is borderline off or just plain off at times. The interpretations aren't anything notable or memorable, either. In particular, he seems to plow straight through the Allegro and Rondo Allegro movements of the Grand Duo Concertant. People looking for a good recording of Weber's clarinet chamber music might want to try Jon Manasse/Manhattan String Quartet instead. Those looking for a good Shifrin chamber recording might opt for the Mozart Clarinet Concerto/Quintet with Gerard Schwarz conducting, or if you've gotta have a Shifrin/Weber recording, at least check out his efforts on the Weber concertos.
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