Michael Collins' ultimate clarinetfest

There’s never a dull moment in this cavalcade virtuoso vehicles for clarinet including works by the likes of Rachmaninov and Weber

Composer: Various
Repertoire: The Virtuoso Clarinet
Artists: Michael Collins (cl), Piers Lane (pf)
Rating:  5/5
Genre: Chamber 
Label: Chandos CHAN 10615

The Music Included here are some original works and transcriptions by Gershwin, Giamperi, Messager, Milhaud, Rachmaninov and Weber. Technical display is uppermost – though of course this extends to the instrument’s tonal capabilities as a mirror to the human voice. 

The Performance Outstanding virtuoso Collins is joined by pianist Piers Lane for over an hour of unashamed showing off, rich in fun and flair, coordinating dizzying feats together. Milhaud’s Scaramouche (usually for two pianos) is a particular treat, though, the mingling of mellowness, jazziness and gentle nostalgia suiting the instruments perfectly; here and in Messager’s Solo de concours Collins evokes the horn-like quality of the French clarinet style. The Carmen Fantasy is delivered with tremendous panache. 

The Verdict Brilliant playing in every sense: the musical equivalent of a tray of bonbons crafted by Gordon Ramsay and a must for any clarinet fan.