Notes and Editorial Reviews
Tashi don their tuxedos and, in the case of violinist Ida Kavafian, a flapper dress. The roaring twenties provide the only common link in this oddball collection; as the sleeve-note suggests during that rollicking decade ''the world was bent on having a good time''. I'll take that on trust. Tashi have a good time here, and so, for the most part, do we. I am never entirely sure about Hindemith, but you don't argue with the craftsmanship. He was 28 and irritatingly eager when he put together this inventive little Quintet. No musical fashion seems to have escaped him—from the obligatory string elegy with its generous coating of late romanticism, to the curdled third movement Landler with its grotesque mix of Berlin cabaret and Mahlerian Wunderhorn (Richard Stoltzman in his element brandishing the E flat clarinet), a touch of premature minimalism in the curiously spare fourth movement, and a finale which begins by sounding as though it is rewinding the score back to the beginning. The Lukas Foss piece is weird, too—not in terms of the musical language, which is disarmingly mainstream, but on account of its gentle off-beat humour. Just when you think you should be taking it seriously … The treadmill finale, for instance, is notable for two thin-lipped piano solos and a spooky disappearing-trick at the end. Stoltzman again gets the lion's share of the virtuosity.
As for the remaining bon-bons Stoltzman and friends are suitably laid-back. Alan Shulman's Rendezvous was written for Benny Goodman and sounds much as its title suggests. A deceptive start, like off-duty Richard Strauss, gives way to swingtime. And swingtime is what we are looking for, and get, in at least three of the five Gershwin morsels. Stoltzman tosses off a deliciously frisky Promenade (or Walking the dog) while the standards are duly adored—the flavour of the arrangements, Palm Court with a twist.
-- Edward Seckerson, Gramophone [3/1990]