Delicacies – Clarinet & Piano – Manhattan

by | Sep 14, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews

Delicacies – Alexy Gorokholinsky, clarinet/ Marina Gorokholinsky, piano – Manhattan Music Ensemble Inc. (no #), 58:39 **** [TrackList below]:
According to the Carnegie Hall website, “A native of Russia, clarinetist Alexey Gorokholinsky won The Juilliard School’s Clarinet Concerto Competition during his freshman year. He was also a top prizewinner at the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, Jefferson Symphony Orchestra, Buffet Crampon, and International Clarinet Association competitions. He regularly appears as a soloist and as a chamber musician throughout New York City. Alexey earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. His principal teachers include Charles Neidich, Stephen Williamson, Mark Nuccio, Yehuda Gilad, and his father, Valery Gorokholinsky.”
This program was chosen to represent in musical form the idea of a succession of feasts that build one upon the other, hence “Delicacies”. In fact there are only three pieces here that are actually written for clarinet: the Kovacs, Francaix, and Bozza, and they are each important compositions. The rest are arrangements by the artist, and each works beautifully with the exception of Clair de Lune—somehow that piece does not lend itself to melody instrument transcription very well, and should have been eliminated. And the Love of Three Oranges is somewhat too predictable. But the rest are very well done, quite tasteful, and supremely idiomatic for both clarinet and piano.
Gorokholinsky has an outstanding tone and feverish technique—just listen to the Bazzini or Paganini pieces for an example of phenomenal tonguing and even, smooth runs. His warm and quite luxuriant tone is on display in some manner in each one of these works, not least the pieces by Rachmaninov, sans vibrato but expressive to the nth degree. Rarely have I heard such stunning clarinet sound. This man should have a vibrant and highly-expectant future in front of him, and I can recommend this disc in no uncertain terms. The sound is beautiful, capturing the wind tone wonderfully while keeping the piano in perfect balance, recorded at a place called the House of Sound Recording in Moscow. This vanity release is worth every glance into the mirror.
TrackList:
1. Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Saltan: Flight of the Bumblebee
2. Tchaikovsky: Romance Op. 5
3. Tchaikovsky: Russian Dance
4. Kovacs: Hommage à M. De Falla
5. Bazzini: La Ronde Des Lutins Op. 25
6. Rachmaninov: Prelude Op. 2
7. Rachmaninov: Oriental Dance Op. 2
8. Paganini: Moto Perpetuo Op. 11
9. Francaix: Theme and Variations
10. Debussy: Clair De Lune
11. Bozza: Bucolique
12. Prokofiev: March From the Opera “Love for Three Oranges”
—Steven Ritter