Brahms & Mozart Clarinet Quintets

Jerry Dubins has offered a preview of his review of our Brahms & Mozart: Clarinet Quintets recording with Eli Eban coming to Fanfare Magazine:

“Immediately apparent in this new recording is the warmth and sweetness of Eban’s tone. … Where the clarinet needs to soar over the strings, Eban also accomplishes that in an unforced and natural-sounding manner that preserves his instrument’s integration with the strings. In other words, these performances never sound like the clarinet is an interloper that wandered by accident into a string quartet. … heartfelt singing of phrases by Eban in alliance with the Alexander’s uncommonly sensitive, responsive, and sinuous shaping of the line makes for the most meltingly beautiful readings of these works I can recall ever hearing. Listen, for example, to first violinist Zacarias Grafilo play the second theme in the first movement of the Mozart, beginning in the second half of bar 49. It’s marked p dolce. The beatific benevolence of it will take your breath away.

But Grafilo isn’t the only one of the string quartet who should be singled out for special distinction. There isn’t a single bar, not even a single note, in either the Mozart or the Brahms to which violinist Frederick Lifsitz, violist Paul Yarbrough, and cellist Sandy Wilson don’t add the most expressive beauty. And all of this can be heard on an extraordinarily detailed and transparent recording made in June of 2019 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Belvedere, California by recording maestro Matt Carr. …

Without hesitation, this will now be the first recording of these works I will reach for on my shelf. Bravos all around!

Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

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