Classical CD Reviews

“The Lyric Clarinet ” = Music by GUASTAVINO, DEBUSSY, POULENC, SCHUMANN, BRAHMS, SCHUBERT, et al. [TrackList follows] – F. Gerard Errante, clar./Philip Fortenberry, Voltaire Verzosa, p. – Ravello

A very pleasant discovery (or rediscovery), especially for clarinetists.

Published on March 12, 2014

“The Lyric Clarinet ” = Music by GUASTAVINO, DEBUSSY, POULENC, SCHUMANN, BRAHMS, SCHUBERT, et al. [TrackList follows] – F. Gerard Errante, clar./Philip Fortenberry, Voltaire Verzosa, p. – Ravello

“The Lyric Clarinet ” = Music by GUASTAVINO, DEBUSSY, POULENC, SCHUMANN, BRAHMS, SCHUBERT, et al. [TrackList follows] – F. Gerard Errante, clarinet/Philip Fortenberry, Voltaire Verzosa, p. – Ravello RR7886 (2/25/14) [Distr. by Naxos], 64:38 ***1/2: 

This is a very pleasant and rewarding clarinet recital of music that was originally vocal in origin. The program is divided on this disc into four very interesting regional sections – “North and South American Songs I”, ”French Songs”, “German Lieder” and “North and South American Songs II.”

But the first ‘rediscovery’, for me, was hearing the very fine clarinetist, F. Gerard Errante, perform repertoire such as this. When I was in college and for quite some time thereafter, Errante was known to me and to many others, I’m sure, as a clarinetist whose specialty was contemporary music and extended techniques. When I wanted to learn a new fingering for some multiphonics or the altissimo, I went straight to Errante’s book on the subject. He and Philip Rehfeldt from UC Redlands were “the” names on such things and that is how I most remember him and his playing – until now.

As background, Errante is a clarinetist of international stature whose performances in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Japan, Africa, Cuba and the South Pacific have received critical acclaim. A native of New York City, he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan. Errante has published two books, A Selective Clarinet Bibliography and Contemporary Clarinet Repertoire, composed ten works for clarinet, and has contributed numerous articles to a wide variety of journals. Errante has performed at many international festivals and was a second prizewinner in the International Gaudeamus Competition for Interpreters of Contemporary Music.

After 30 years of service, Dr. Errante retired from Norfolk State University where he was Professor of Music. He twice received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award and was twice nominated for the highest teaching award in the state of Virginia. Errante has also served as Adjunct Professor of Music at Old Dominion University where he was a founding member of the new music ensemble, Creo.

Gerard’s playing here is superb and this collection contains a large number of short but charming transcriptions that showcase his skills and his tone quality quite nicely. There are beautiful little vocal melodies by Francis Poulenc and Claude Debussy as well as Brahms, Schumann and Schubert in the lieder side of the genre. For me, the real fun was in discovering some composers or songwriters I had not heard of.

For example, there are three charming works by the Argentinean composer Carlos Guastavino. I found his El Samedrino especially nice. There are also single offerings by John Duke, D. Gause (Errante’s frequent performing partner), Samuel Barber and American vocal composer Lori Laitman. The collection concludes with a stunningly poignant rendition of Alberto Ginastera’s “Triste” that segues into “Send in the Clowns” (from A Little Night Music) by the esteemed theater composer Stephen Sondheim.

There are twenty-one short little gems in this recital and this represents some beautiful and relaxing listening for anyone, I should imagine. For serious clarinetists, here is another look – perhaps that ‘rediscovery’ – at one of the country’s great players and whose artistry we should all emulate.

TrackList:

   La rosa y el sauce (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   2:32          
     I Carry Your Heart (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   2:42          
     12 Canciones populares: El Sampedrino (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   3:13          
     Milonga de dos hermanos (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   3:02          
     Beau soir (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   2:16          
     Mandoline (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   1:33          
     Bleuet, FP 102 (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   2:54          
     Les chemins de l’amour, FP 106 (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   1:48          
     Suite bergamasque: No. 3. Clair de lune (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   2:59          
     Banalites, FP 107 (excerpts) (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)            
        No. 2. Hotel   1:50          
        No. 4. Voyage a Paris   1:01          
     Lunar Lace (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   7:51          
     Myrthen, Op. 25: No. 1. Widmung (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   2:15          
     5 Lieder, Op. 105: No. 1. Wie Melodien zieht es mir (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   1:59          
     5 Romanzen und Lieder, Op. 84: No. 4. Vergebliches Standchen (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   1:45          
     Nacht und Traume, D. 827 (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   4:02          
     Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42: No. 2. Er, der Herrlichste von allen (He, the noblest of all) (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   2:59          
     5 Lieder, Op. 47: No. 1. Botschaft (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   1:46          
     4 Songs, Op. 13: No. 3. Sure on this shining night (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   2:09          
     The Apple Orchard (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   2:59          
     5 canciones populares argentinas, Op. 10: No. 2. Triste – A Little Night Music: Send in the Clowns (arr. F.G. Errante for clarinet and piano)   7:03          

—Daniel Coombs




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