In FriendshipLynn René Bayley has a wonderful new review of our release In Friendship in the latest issue of Fanfare Magazine. Here are just a few of the things she has to say about this recording with Joan Enric Lluna:

“This album, titled In Friendship, is particularly remarkable for César Cano’s clarinet quintet, written in 2011 for his good friend and former classmate Joan Enric Lluna…Cano also graciously provided notes for the listener, explaining in part what one can hear (that the music uses a wide variety of juxtaposed notes and rhythms, composed in such a way as to provide a steady flow while constantly challenging the performers), and some things that are not immediately obvious, such as that one of Cano’s guiding aesthetic goals is ‘Finding that balance between organic and coherent simplicity and necessary complexity, which is never arbitrary, ostentatious or pretentious’. I can state unequivocally that he succeeds brilliantly. This is music with sharp edges, even in the string writing—no “easy listening classical” here!—yet which keeps up the interest of even the casual classical listener while it challenges and delights the experienced ear with polyrhythms, counterpoint, and in the second movement, oblique rhythms written in 3/4 time but played by the strings in ricochet, imitating each other as in an echo…This is, quite simply a marvelous work, and it is marvelously performed by Lluna with the Alexander Quartet.

“[In] the famous Brahms clarinet quintet … Lluna and the string quartet manage to keep the music feeling light and buoyant. Their performance never bogs down into heavy-handed Romantic solipsism but, rather, keeps exploring and pushing the boundaries of Brahms’s score in such a way that your interest remains piqued. It’s been a while since I’ve heard another performance of this work, but honestly, I can’t recall it making as strong an impression on me as it does in this recording.

I can’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s simply a gem.” — Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare Magazine

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