Richard Mühlfeld, the principal clarinet of the Meiningen Orchestra and a virtuoso of his instrument, inspired Johannes Brahms to compose several chamber music works involving the clarinet, that most melodic of the woodwinds, among them two sonatas. In these two final chamber music compositions Brahms, unencumbered by any thoughts of musical grandeur – the great symphonies well behind him then – honored Mühlfeld’s artistry with music sublime in its delicacy and deceiving simplicity.
In their exquisite album of music for clarinet and piano two superb Israeli masters: clarinetist Ron Selka, and pianist Aviram Reichert take the listener on a heartfelt musical journey that encompasses both of those late-career sonatas – the Clarinet Sonata in E-flat major, op. 120 no. 2 and the Clarinet Sonata in F minor, op. 120 no. 1, along with other music for clarinet and piano. Throughout the hour-long CD their playing is quintessentially elegant, noble in utterance, technically beyond reproach.
The TYXart compact disc, now available both as a hard copy and on line as a digital download (TYXart LC 28001 TXA20152) also includes four songs from Brahms’ op. 105: Wie Melodien Zieht es Mir…Immer Leiser wird mein Schlummer…Klage… and Auf dem Kirchhofe, along with another song without words: the Minnelied from op. 71. For lovers of German Lieder, it is nothing short of stunning how Selka’s clarinet and Reichert’s piano make with their playing felicitous substitutions for the poetic message inherent in those songs by imbuing the music with the spirit of the words of several German poets, never more so than in the profoundly sad Immer Leiser wird mein Schlummer.
In his album notes, Yoel Greenberg thoroughly examines both the historical background for the composition of these delicate masterpieces and their musical structure. To those notes I merely add my unqualifiedly enthusiastic critical response.
Engineered, edited and mastered by Avi Elbaz, Yann Selka and Ben Bernfeld, and produced by Andreas Ziegler the sound is flawless, intimate and life-like, the packaging and photography first class.
Rafael de Acha ALL ABOUT THE ARTS