The Star Ledger Review
Richard Stoltzman, 66, has long been America's top clarinetist, having made dozens of hit major label classical and crossover discs. This indie album ranges widely from Weber to Debussy, though Stoltzman's burnished lyricism ties it all together.
The disc includes Stoltzman's first classical love: Debussy's "Premiere Rhapsodie," one of the most poetic scores ever written as a competition piece. Stoltzman sings beautifully through the composer's diaphanous texture, the melody flowing like quicksilver. Also ravishing is
Tchaikovsky's piano piece "Herbstlied," arranged for clarinet and strings by the late Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu for his soloist friend. When the last notes finish sighing, it's like being woken from a sweet dream.
Also here are Weber's Clarinet Concertino (which has a "Don Giovanni"-like feel) and his
Clarinet Concerto No. 2 (with an Andante that Stoltzman plays like a love song, the Slovak
strings hushed around him). The Bottesini "Duetto" for clarinet and double-bass isn't as