Part of Naxos’ Light Classics series, this lively program of arrangements for clarinet quartet will captivate anyone who likes saxophone quartets and/or the jazzy music or Gershwin and Bernstein. The quartet is made up of topflight clarinetists and they play with the greatest accuracy and swing. Iowa-born Botsford is the composer of the Black and White Rag, and Thompson and Mortier wrote lighthearted suites of a decidedly American flavor. Don’t know where the Belgian players dug them up but they are great fun to hear. The five Gershwin song transcriptions appear to originate from the composer’s own published piano variations on his songs.The quartet’s treatment of Gershwin’s Three Preludes followed by his The Man I Love is a delight and the suite from West Side Story would be perfect for a quartet of high school clarinetists. I’m just glad I can hear it with the Belgian musicians instead!
— John Sunier