WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

John Corigliano, Elliott Carter: American Clarinet Concertos

Corigliano / Carter / Brussels Po / Meyer
Release Date: 01/08/2013 
Label:  Aeon   Catalog #: 1230   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John CoriglianoElliott Carter
Performer:  Eddy Vanoosthuyse
Conductor:  Paul Meyer
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 49 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

CORIGLIANO Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra. CARTER Clarinet Concerto Eddy Vanoosthuyse (cl); Paul Meyer, cond; Brussels P AEON 1230 (48:48)

Given the inexact and often-times prejudicial nature of classical music criticism, Elliott Carter (1908-2012) and John Corigliano (b. 1938) are typically placed in opposing stylistic camps—that of the avant-garde and New Romanticism, respectively. The danger with such simplistic stereotyping is not only Read more that it misrepresents the music itself, but puts off potential listeners, who may be unaware of the pleasures of a new, challenging experience. This disc is a magnificent case in point. These two works complement each other in any number of ways, and may provide a surprising and enjoyable experience for those who are fans of one composer but not—they may assume—the other.

Both, for example, are insistently lyrical, using alternately circuitous or joltingly angular melodic contours that flirt ambiguously with tonality and find engaging, sometimes unexpected solutions. Both provide fascinating colors and textures in their accompanying orchestration—Corigliano ranging from dark, subterranean Penderecki-like depths and whispering strings to Le Sacre -style roaring brass and explosive percussion; Carter dividing his chamber orchestra into smaller groupings to provoke the clarinet with different environments, from turbulent to tranquil, as the music progresses. And both allow the solo clarinet to cavort playfully and sing expressively in equal measure. If there’s a basic difference in perspective, it’s that Corigliano designs his three-movement score as a dramatic illustration of predetermined events or moods, such as the second movement clarinet and violin Elegy for his father, who served as concertmaster for the New York Philharmonic for many years, whereas Carter takes a more cubist view of his material, revealing sharper edges, more rapidly changing rhythms, and an unpredictable sequence of events.

Each of the two has strong competing recordings as well. In Richard Stoltzman’s version of the Corigliano concerto (RCA), there is more of an emphasis on the music’s jazzy rhythms and the contrast between its expressive and abstract elements. While Eddy Vanoosthuyse may not capture the same sense of spontaneity as Stoltzman, or equal the mournful quality of his playing in the Elegy, his phrasing and control illuminates distinctive details along the way, negotiates the treacherous opening cadenza fluidly, and packs more punch in the powerful closing pages. I call it a toss-up. The same holds true for the Carter concerto, where Vanoosthuyse and Michael Collins (DG) both handle the angular passages with aplomb, and offer an absorbing account of the contemplative episodes. Oliver Knussen, conductor for Collins, is a brilliant interpreter of Carter’s music, and the must-hear DG disc also features the only available recording of Symphonia . But Vanoosthuyse’s conductor, Paul Meyer, is a notable clarinetist himself, and his grasp of these concertos is no less effective. All things considered, this is an exceptional release in every way.

FANFARE: Art Lange
Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for clarinet and orchestra by John Corigliano
Performer:  Eddy Vanoosthuyse (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Paul Meyer
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1977 
Venue:  Studio 1, Flagey, Bruxelles 
Length: 28 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Concerto for Clarinet by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Eddy Vanoosthuyse (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Paul Meyer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; USA 
Venue:  Studio 1, Flagey, Bruxelles 
Length: 20 Minutes 12 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title