|Site review by Christine Tham January 12, 2008
|I didn't think there would be many works for clarinets and strings, but here is a whole disc of them!
The first piece on the disc is Concerto a Tre (clarinet, violin, violoncello) by Ingolf Dahl. It is an interesting and very listenable work (originally intended for Benny Goodman) that starts off a bit subdued but ends with a playful florish.
The second is a Serenade for two clarinets and string quartet, written by Bohuslav Martinu. The first movement gave me an impression of birds fluttering all over the place, chasing and being chased, with an overall springtime air. The second movement is more like a lullaby, but with moments of animated urgency. The third movement flows along like a brook, and the final movement brings everything together with a hint of whimsicality. Altogether a very pleasant and listenable work.
The third piece, Evocatios de Slovaquie, by Karl Husa, channels Kodaly through it's three movements entitled The Mountain, Night, and Dance.
All in all, a very listenable disc, and well performed by the Sono Lumina Ensemble, which is a subset of the Sono Lumina Chamber Orchestra. According to their web site, the term "Sono Lumina" is "a derivative of the scientific term "sonoluminescence" or "sound/light". The performances of the pieces are fairly vibrant and full of energy, so I guess the allusion to luminescence is appropriate.
As is usual with all the IsoMike recordings, the sound quality is faultless. Good use is made of the surround speakers in the multi-channel version, and the soundstage is very enveloping. The microphones must have been placed reasonably close to the instruments, because I can hear string scraping sounds and breathing noises, but they are not annoying and add to the vibrancy of the performances. The stereo version is not quite as enveloping as the multi-channel version, but very listenable in its own right.