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East European Music for Clarinet.

Karel Dohnal

Czech Radio


In the twentieth century the clarinet became a very popular instrument thanks to its technical and expressive range. In the countries of Eastern Europe the clarinet was also one of the traditional instruments of folk music. The clarinettist Karel Dohnal is a representative of the younger generation of Czech performers and can already boast many successes (Laureate of the Prague Spring Competition, prizes from competitions in Ostend, Bayreuth and London), and twentieth-century music is an important part of his repertoire. His CD offers five pieces for clarinet by Eastern European composers, and all except one from the later twentieth century. Czech music is represented here by Bohuslav Martinu and Miloslav Istvan, Hungarian music by Rezso Kokai, Rumanian by Tiberiu Olah and Russian by Sergei Ivanovich Tanyeyev. Bohuslav Martinu's Sonatina and Miloslav Istvan's Sonata were written at almost the same time -- the mid-Fifties -- and both show strong inspiration by folk music. Martinu at this point, however, was al ready an accomplished master, while Istvan was only at the beginning of his career and still under the influence of his great model, Leos Janacek.

Just as Janacek's influenced Czech music, so Bela Bartok influenced Hungarian music. Rezso Kokai continued with Bartok's legacy not only as a composer, but also as a collector and arranger of folk songs. His Four Folk Dances are virtuoso stylisations with the pattern of progressive gradation that we can hear in Hungarian folk music.

The clarinet is also often to be found in Rumanian music, but Tiberiu Olah draws inspiration more from the poetics of the New Music and he exploits all the possibilities of the instrument. Some passages of this technically very difficult piece nonetheless contain at least a distant reference to folk music in the form of its typical figurations.

The only representative of the nineteenth century on the recording is Sergei Tanyeyev. His Canzona still draws on the legacy of Tchaikovsky and provides the performer with a chance to show the more lyric sides of the instrument.

Dohnal's partner on this CD is the pianist Vaclava Cernohorska and for Tanyeyevs Canzone he is joined by the Talich Quartet.
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Author:Kratochvil, Matej
Publication:Czech Music
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Previous Article:Interview with Mario Mary (winner of the musica nova 2002 competition).
Next Article:Haydn Haba Janacek.

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