Debussy Rhapsodie for clarinet and orchestra

Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie

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David Thomas, clarinet
Columbus Symphony Orchestra
Alessandro Siciliani, conducting

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9 comments for “Debussy Rhapsodie for clarinet and orchestra

  1. October 4, 2009 at

    You must be thinking particularly of clarinettist Sabine Meyer as you mention the Berlin Phil. Just a quick trawl through the comments on her vids in You Tube back up what you say about being laughed at. I salute you for standing firm on your musical beliefs. I’m totally with you on creativity and it must take an awful lot of courage to follow through in the culture in which you live. On that score, we have a much easier time in Europe where different styles are respected and even encouraged. Good on you!

  2. Lyndon Moors
    October 1, 2009 at

    Terrific recording, David! This is not a piece I am very familiar with (though I like the writing for oboe and especially EH), but I have to agree that this might be the wind player's "Afternoon of a Faun". You really demonstrated expert control throughout the melodic and dynamic range of the piece. A good reed day, yes?

    • October 1, 2009 at

      Hi Lyndon. How are you? Thanks for stopping by. And thank you for your kind comment. English Horn is one of my favorite instruments. I fell in love with the instrument (in HS during a Summer camp in Morgantown, WV) and with the player playing the EH solo in Pines of Rome, last movement.

  3. September 30, 2009 at

    Inspiring! This is the first recording I've heard where the tempo is more or less the same as my interpretation. It makes me feel that I'm not so completely "off the wall" after all! Beautiful tone and as Glenn said, impeccable intonation. I just hope I can turn out such a great job. And again thanks so much for your excellent suggestions for third page trills. Look forward to hearing more!

    • September 30, 2009 at

      Hey Marion. Those tempos were actually slower than I had played it before. The conductor wanted to indulge, and the music became more 3 dimensional for me. Now I love it that way!

      • October 2, 2009 at

        That's an interesting comment being that the conductor must be Italian! I've never really warmed to American versions of the Debussy (and many other works) because I've always been left with an empty feeling i.e., no heart or passion or musical expression. There is general EU view that the US style is merely a drive for "perfect technique" i.e., how fast can I play these notes but devoid of anything else. Many recordings evidence this impression. In the end I guess it's a mix of cultural upbringing and personal taste not whether either the US or EU produce the best world players. Maybe a combination of the two continents would produce the ideal clarinettist! Looking forward to a trip to the US in 2010 and I just love your "Afternoon of a Faun" analogy – you are so right.

      • October 2, 2009 at

        Yes, our conductor for that recording is Italian, and VERY romantic in his interpretations of anything, as you might imagine. I learned to be a better musician (rather than technician) from him. And from listening to singers such as Callas, even Elizabeth Schwarzkopf.

        It's very interesting that you say there's a \”general EU view that the US style is merely a drive for 'perfect technique'.\” Perhaps that is the case on some general level. I think the style of audition practices in the US have created a more technical approach to playing. In a 2 minute first round, you had better be note perfect!!

        I enjoy watching the Berlin Phil videos, because their woodwind players are SO into the music, not only in the way they play, but how they look. If we moved around that much here, we'd be laughed at!

        I often stand out here as being almost too creative in my interpretations. I agree that historical precedent and score markings are important. But a musician has a responsibility not only to the music as written, but how it gets across to the audience, who are, after all, the whole point of the performance.

  4. Glenn Kantor
    September 27, 2009 at

    Beautiful control with seemless legato and impeccable intonation. You captured the etheral impressionistic spirit of the piece. Bravo on making a difficult piece sound relatively easy.

    • September 27, 2009 at

      Thank you, Glenn. Any performance can be better. I was honored to be able to record this gem.

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