CARTER; CORIGLIANO Clarinet Concertos

Concertos from the Brussels Phil and its own principal

Author: 
Peter Dickinson

Carter; Corigliano_Clarinet Concertos

  • Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra
  • Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra

The first recording of Corigliano’s Clarinet Concerto (1977) with Stanley Drucker and the New York Philharmonic came out on New World Records in 1981. It was an early Corigliano work, which impressed a wide audience and was taken up and recorded by both Michael Collins and Richard Stoltzman. The personality of the soloist is defined by very rapid passages – as fast as possible in the first movement – and there’s a rich tapestry of textures from a large orchestra as well as very high notes from the soloist. The new recording is over a minute slower than Drucker in the first movement (‘Cadenzas’) but it’s still frenzied. The slow movement (‘Elegy’), in memory of the composer’s father, who was leader of the NYPO, opens with soft strings preparing for the entry of the soloist. The finale (‘Antiphonal Toccata’) is consistently energetic, with a spectacular passage for timpani and a spacious chorale that unifies the movement.

The Carter (1995) is quite different. Commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris, it can be performed with single string players to each part, as a chamber concerto, the version here. The composer, who was nearly 90 when he wrote it, mellowed in later life without sacrificing his principles. This 20-minute span moves through sections where the soloist is offset by various instrumental groups between tuttis. The result is constantly effervescent but there are also long lyrical lines. Vanoosthuyse is recorded closer than Drucker, and in the Carter there are breathing noises. If you want to get Carter, go for the Collins recording with the BBC SO under Knussen on an all-Carter CD; but the Corigliano comes off on this short disc.

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