A new coupling of mostly old performances, this disc of works for clarinet and viola by Bruch and Schumann is nevertheless an exquisite treat for fans of either instrument. The opening work, Bruch's Concerto for clarinet, viola, and orchestra, was recorded in 2002 while the remaining works, Bruch's Eight Pieces for clarinet, viola, and piano along with Schumann's Märchenerzählungen for the same ensemble, were recorded in 1995. In all three works, the soloists are warm-toned clarinetist Steven Kanoff and sweet-toned violist Paul Coletti who play together with an effective combination of easy grace and passionate dedication. With Tomasso Placidi leading the Hannover Radio Philharmonic in the concerto, Kanoff and Coletti turn in affectionate performances as fine as the best currently available -- the grandly dramatic Gerard Causse/Paul Meyer from 1988 and the achingly lyrical Thea King/Nobuko Imai from 1981. With pianist Staffan Scheja in Schumann's Märchenerzählungen and Bruch's Eight Pieces, Kanoff and Coletti turn in a pair of lovingly intimate performances, which, once again, equal some of the best available. Even ASV's sound, sometimes not as clear or clean as the bigger labels, is here as lucid as one could wish.
Review by James Leonard
|Concerto for clarinet & viola with orchestra, in E minor, Op. 88|
|Trio Pieces (8), for clarinet (or violin), viola (or cello) & piano, Op. 83|
|Märchenerzählungen for clarinet (or violin), viola & piano, Op. 132|