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Stoltzman's technical fluency is awesome! From the mellow, dark low register to brilliant instrumental highs, his sound is beautiful -- like musical crystal. His coolly cerebral performance of Bernstein's Clarinet Sonata (1941-2) was perfection itself. Although this is an early Bernstein work, the flowing melodies and propulsive rhythms could have come from the score for West Side Story (which the composer created fifteen years later).

Debussy's impressionistically languid Premier Rhapsodie was filled with warm, burnished tonal sheen and fetching sounds. Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) conjured up the sounds of the French music hall in his Clarinet Sonata of 1962. Poulenc's genius was the unique ability to transform mundane even coarse thematic material into a work of beauty. The Clarinet Sonata is a delightfully ebullient, bouncy score. Stoltzman played this gem with bright, piercing tone and bouncy vivacity. He perfectly evoked the quirky syncopations of the Allegro con Fuoco, tres anime conclusion (with its haunting central episode) -- an effervescent performance! The perfect musical French soufflé!

Stoltzman's son Peter John Stoltzman was his brilliant collaborator. An acclaimed jazz pianist and doctorial candidate in jazz composition at Boston's New England Conservatory, Peter John Stoltzman's keyboard fluency is nothing short of extraordinary! His jazzy syncopation in the Bernstein score and rhythmic freedom in the Poulenc Sonata were impressive. His commanding tone and lightness on the Bosendorfer piano were a total delight. Peter John Stoltzman's own arrangement of excerpts from George Gershwin's operatic masterpiece Porgy and Bess was simply wonderful. Richard Stoltzman played quasi improvisatory riffs in the Prayer section while walking through the audience. The opening It Ain't Necessarily So had the chic languid tones of a hot summer night. The concluding Summertime was wonderfully bluesy -- slow, jazzy and colorful. A brilliantly original arrangement!

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Copyright © 8 July 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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