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Cohler plays and conducts Weber

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Audio CD, August 15, 2016
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In tour de force performances, virtuoso clarinetist and conductor Jonathan Cohler plays and conducts the Concertino and two Concertos by Carl Maria von Weber with the renowned Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Budapest, Hungary. Cohler also conducts stunning performances of the overtures to Weber's two most famous operas, Der Freischütz and Oberon, that again are based on the composer's autograph scores, as no previous recording has done. The CD also features the brilliant, multiple-award-winning pianist Rasa Vitkauskaite playing the Liszt orchestration of Weber’s Polonaise brillante.

This recording is the first to utilize the most recent research on Weber, and to bring you the music as intended by Weber. To round out this groundbreaking new CD, Cohler has written a 28-page, in-depth booklet explaining all of the latest information. As usual, Ongaku Records’ trademark audiophile sound quality provides the listener with stunning detail, dynamic range, sound quality, and accurate sound stage. This is a “must have” for anyone interested in the music of Weber.


“...every once in a while an artist comes along to turn one’s long-held opinion on its head, and Jonathan Cohler is such an artist...While many modern-day clarinetists play and record these works on today’s modern clarinets—and that includes Jonathan Cohler—none of them, except for Cohler, has gone back to Weber’s original manuscripts to perform the pieces as originally written, and that is what makes Cohler’s performances of these oft-recorded works different and special...the results reveal a real freshness and spontaneity of invention that I, for one, have not previously experienced in recordings by David Shifrin, Richard Stoltzman, Sabine Meyer, or even Martin Fröst...Still, Weber’s cleansed scores would make little difference if not vivified by Cohler’s extraordinary musical intelligence and technical wizardry. His sense of style and beauty of tone are ravishing, and his seemingly effortless articulation and execution are riveting...I’m grateful to Jonathan Cohler for opening my mind and ears to a composer whose music I have heretofore undervalued. To those who already appreciate Weber’s music, Cohler’s CD will be self-recommending. It’s even more strongly recommended to those, like me, who have previously sold Weber short.” --—Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine

“The Concertino and the two Concertos have Mozartean grace; they certainly do in Cohler’s hands...Striking attention is paid throughout to differentiation of dynamics. The two Concertos are flighty, tenderly—even searchingly—pensive and caringly delicate. These are very thoughtful readings—listen for example to the affecting tenderness brought to bear in the slow movement of No. 2. It’s a credit to all concerned that these recordings reflect back a carefree liquid innocence uncompromised by the gymnastic fireworks, sparkling kindling and exuberant virtuosity...The romantic element—pre-echoes of Schumann and Berlioz—also comes across with fiery tension and beguiling delicacy in the two overtures...Vitkauskaite’s plangently played Polonaise brillante—as arranged by Liszt—is a spirited and aristocratic jeu d’esprit carried off with style.

The Lithuanian-born Rasa Vitkauskaite, who is the pianist of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, provides a two page note, for the Weber-Liszt Polonaise brillante. Her writing is equally in-depth yet approachably rewarding...Cohler’s Ongaku discs have in common his welcome liner-essays. ‘Essay’ is not too grand a word either....It runs to no fewer than seventeen purposefully filled and factually concentrated pages. Both Cohler and Vitkauskaite are informative, considered and frank. Their writing complements the full-on recording and the brilliance of the music-making.” --—Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

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Product details

  • Performer: Jonathan Cohler, Rasa Vitkauskaite
  • Orchestra: Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
  • Conductor: Jonathan Cohler
  • Composer: Carl Maria von Weber, Franz Liszt
  • Audio CD (August 15, 2016)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ongaku Records
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,258 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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