One of the characteristics of Morton Feldman's music is the way silences are thrown into stark relief. Each silence - freighted with memory, charged with expectation - becomes a unique presence in the music more than merely an absence of it. Though his silences are measured in units of time, they also contain an intimation of infinity. The music of the "classical" tradition slows down, speeds up, layers and otherwise manipulates time. Of the other arts, only cinema plays with our temporal perception to a greater degree.
Mercury Classics/Deutsche Grammophon has released the debut album of Austrian clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer, the first ever solo clarinettist to sign an exclusive agreement with the Yellow Label. Portraits – The Clarinet Album features concertos by Copland, Spohr and Cimarosa, plus arrangements of short pieces. Andreas Ottensamer is accompanied on the recording by the Rotterdam Philharmonic under Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Haydn's student Ignace Joseph Pleyel was nearly as prolific as his Austrian parents (he was one of 38 children), and not all of the various attempts to revive his work have found music worth reviving. His music remains mostly unknown, and instrumentalists and ensembles haven't sorted through it to find the gems. This effort by virtuoso German clarinetist Dieter Klöcker, who also wrote the rather abstract but cogent booklet notes, is one of the best contributions yet. The clarinet was a new instrument in Pleyel's time, and was undergoing rapid change.
All of the works on this recording evidence the hallmarks of Martin Amlin's style: a facile flow of elaborate rhythms; a harmonic language rich with the notes that comprise seventh chords; a non-strict usage of tone rows; an honoring of the past through recognizable formal structure and thematic evolution; and a French sensibility that might be described as neo-impressionistic. A student of Nadia Boulanger, Martin Amlin received masters and doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards and has been a resident at Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. A member of the faculty at Boston University, he is also director of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Composition Program. A noted pianist as well, he performs the works on this CD with noted artists Leone Buyse and Michael Webster, who have long been advocates of his music.
Soft and cantabile, with sparkling virtuosity: we owe it to the internationally celebrated soloistSabine Meyer that the clarinet has conquered the world's concert stages as a solo instrument. She has been rediscovering forgotten repertoire for decades now, presenting to a delighted public not only the famous clarinet concertos by Mozart, Weber and Rossini, but also gems by lesser known composers.