Jonathan Cohler: The Clarinet Alone
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Stunning collection of some of the most important 20th century solo clarinet works performed by one of the world's most renowned clarinetists.
“…ebullient clarinet…a virtuoso spectacular…gorgeous…this disc is a must for clarinet lovers.” --James H. North, Fanfare Magazine, July/August 1996
“…the single most gorgeous clarinet sound I know…There is no other recording I know of as unique.” --Patrick Meanor, Listener Magazine, Summer 1996
“Cohler is an absolute master of the clarinet, technically and tonally. His phrasing and sense of pacing are ideal.” --The Clarinet Magazine, February/March 1996
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(I know Bill Smith personally, and I'm sure he loves it too!). Best of all though, is the Paganini "Molto Perpetuo". Superb circular breathing!
Matters of taste aside, the technical facility was excellent, except for a few minor spots where the rhythmic consistency seemed a little shaky. Some of the pieces have a lot of rubato feel to them, and that's fine, but some of them clearly demand a steady pulse, and there are just a few minor places were you're not quite sure if it's still there (a couple places in the smith 5 pieces for clarinet for example). Pitch on the extreme registers was good, and most of the weird effects came across well.
All in all, I'd recommend this to any clarinet aficionados, but serious students would be advised to take the performance with a grain of salt (as I suppose could be said of any recordings really.)
The Paganini--wow! I've already moved the doleful Osborne to my frequent-listening shelf. It's unsurprising the Martino appeals to clarinetists: it's exciting and athletic, leaping over multiple octaves at a single bound! I also enjoyed Enland von Koch's alternatively playful and pensive "Monolog 3".
This is a fine collection of 20th century solo clarinet works. It's great to have them recorded. That they are so *well* recorded makes it all the sweeter.