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Supreme skills on piano and clarinet.

Byline: REVIEW TITLE: Michael Collins VENUE: St Paul's Hall BY Chris Robins

SUCH is the quality of Huddersfield concerts that BBC Radio Three recorded two of them within three days - the BBC Philharmonic last weekend and now Huddersfield Music Society's latest monthly recital. This was given by Michael McHale - an Irishman and one of the finest pianists of the new generation - and Michael Collins, an Englishman with a famous Irish name and one of the finest clarinetists of any generation. McHale was alert and watchful, capable of matching Collins in virtuosity. Collins dazzled with bravura displays, rich tone, piercing staccatos - the whole range of the clarinet player's art and craft in perfect mastery. They began with Weber's effervescent Grand Duo Concertante. Weber gave clarinetists two concertos, a concertino and a quintet, but this duo is his only clarinet worK which is a true marriage of equal instruments.

McHale and Collins made it sing and bubble and their florid scales in the finale were breathtaKing. Brahms's Clarinet Sonata No. 1 was the meat of the programme. DarK and expressive, Collins also made it intense and introspective. Bernstein's Clarinet Sonata of 1942 - which nods admiringly in the direction of Hindemith with a pre-echo of West Side Story - formed a bridge between Brahms and the jauntier late 20th century items after the interval.

LutoslawsKi's Dance Preludes, based on Polish FOLK dance tempos which change almost bar to bar, were brilliantly played, as was Robert MuczynsKi's Time Pieces which he described as "an awareness of the fact that everything exists in time" rather than a piece about clocKs. Joseph Horovitz's Sonatina brought the evening to a close in light-hearted and witty mood.


DAZZLING PERFORMANCE: Top clarinetist Michael Collins
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 15, 2014
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