Richard Stoltzman

Resolve: Hindemith Masterworks for Clarinet

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The instrumental sonatas and concertos of Paul Hindemith are perhaps more popular among players, who find numerous idiomatic touches in the scores, than among the general public. This compilation, featuring one of history's great clarinetists, may be a good place to dig in and think about this aspect of Hindemith's work, for it puts the clarinet in three different settings and lets people hear how its lines change in Hindemith's hands. These recordings were made at different times and places between 1988 and 2013, and were apparently brought together in memory of Stoltzman's teacher Keith Wilson. The sound is no great shakes in any of the three recordings, and they don't fit together well as productions. But the details of the music come through. The early Quintet for clarinet and string quartet, composed in 1923 and later revised, is lovely in the hands of Stoltzman and a quartet led by violinist Ida Kavafian. Sample the tracery of the ensemble work in the slow movement, titled Ruhig (calm, track 6). The Clarinet Concerto, composed for jazzman Benny Goodman, had to wait several years for its premiere, and even here many listeners may find it a bit of a tough slog, but the compact Clarinet Sonata of 1939, one of a series of compact piano-accompanied sonatas Hindemith wrote for individual instruments, is elegant and, in Stoltzman's hands, full of delightful little Mozartian surprises. Probably of most interest to Stoltzman fans (or those of Hindemith), but potentially interesting to all.

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