ROBERT GROSLOT, “Chamber Music for Clarinet” = Painted Curves; Wagner’s Moon; Statement, Reflection and Conclusion; Hoquetus, Battaglia and Madrigal; Parfums Éphémères – Vlad Weverbergh, clarinet/var. performers – Groslot Music Editions 1403, 69:30 (9/1/14) ****:
I have reviewed the music of composer-conductor Robert Goslot before and I am always impressed! His work is consistently refreshing and easy to listen to. Additionally, he seems to have a very solid command of writing for winds and has captured the attention and collaboration of some of Europe’s best young artists; in this case, the very talented clarinetist Vlad Weverbergh.
Weverbergh, and all his colleagues on this disc, are very fine players and contribute well to the quality of these works. As an opener, I must say, Painted Curves really caught my attention. This fascinating quintet for clarinet and strings is based on impressions from four modern paintings by artists I am not familiar with (Milhazes, Tomaselli, Rauch and Wesselman) I did web search the paintings and they are certainly unusual, even a little “edgy” for my tastes. The music, however, is wonderful; sparkling, jazzy in places and makes for a great addition to the already copious clarinet quintet repertoire.
I had similarly positive feelings about Wagner’s Moon for clarinet and piano. This is a bit more abstract a work than Painted Curves but its blend of lyrical, noir-type imagery and the punctuated hopping about between the clarinet and piano is uniformly interesting. The work also places some demands on both players and makes for a great showy recital work.
Hoquetus, Battaglia and Madrigal is Groslot’s ode to medieval forms, in a way. The interplay between clarinet and harp in this fabulous three movement work is great fun and frequently quite pretty. Highest compliments to harpist Eline Groslot in this lovely but challenging work.
Parfums Éphémères is another of my favorite works on this disc. This is an atmospheric trio for the fairly unusual combination of clarinet, viola and piano. Written in five movements, the work pays homage to French Impressionism in its ornamentation and modal writing. Just like the “ephemeral perfumes” alluded to in the title, the work has a lofty, delicate, “scented” tone to it and lilts along in the most fascinating ways.
I have become a big fan of Robert Groslot’s music. He has a very accessible, clever and attractive style and does write really well for wind instruments in particular. I do not think that he is as known here in the United States as he is in Belgium but acquiring his music and enjoying these charming and well written works ought to change that.
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