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Colourful Renditions

Recitals by Denitsa Laffchieva and Evelina Puzaite,
reviewed by BILL NEWMAN


The chosen end-of-month Wigmore Hall event on 29 January 2007 in London was the Bulgarian Embassy sponsored recital by Denitsa Laffchieva, clarinet and Viktoria Postnikova, piano. The shared riches in the first half were the two Sonatas by Johannes Brahms. Apart from slight heaviness in the piano tone's forte markings, Postnikova's delicate, lyrical playing was a constant delight.

Although overshadowed by the wondrous Clarinet Quintet, these Sonatas are typical of the composer's highly romantic autumnal colourings and lyrical charm. Laffchieva's poetic fluidity and purity, especially in high passage work, was quite superb, although she experienced mouthpiece problems in Alban Berg's early Four Pieces where the music's wide leaps made for some anxious moments.

Schumann's penchant for melancholy came to the fore in his Fantasiestücke Op 73, the solemn-sounding arpeggios instilling unification leading onto contrasting material which floats between A major-minor as the work progreeses.

Really worth waiting for was Weber's celebrated Grand Duo Concertant, like Mozart and Brahms either side, written for the great virtuoso Heinrich Baermann. Despite war interrment, the clarinettist survived to perform Weber's Concertino and Clarinet Quintet, then the present work, which expresses the drama, eloquence and balanced poetry of a theatre composer equally at home with the instrumental demands of his day. Needless to say, this performance was a tour de force.

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Copyright © 12 March 2007 Bill Newman, London UK


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