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Lucy Jeffery
MusicWeb International, April 2014

…Italian clarinettist and composer Ernesto Cavallini’s compositions are tremendously exciting. This sense of eagerness and delight is in part due to Nicola Bulfone’s astonishing virtuosity in the 30 Capriccios. Like Cavallini, Bulfone’s tone is soft and his breathing is almost indistinguishable.

Accompanied by his top-mark scoring student Marco Giani…Bulfone’s performances of Cavallini’s Three Duos for Clarinets are world premiere recordings. Like the Capriccios, these pieces were composed for teaching purposes. However, Bulfone and Giani remove that sense of rigorous and tiresome practise to render these pieces interesting with elements of elegant Italian bel canto and lively musical conversation. Being so technically masterful, these virtuosos play with added sensitivity and humility to produce results that are carefully crafted and neatly shaped.

…Bulfone is daring, outgoing and always utterly attentive to the character of the music. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2014

During the middle part of the 19th century, the Italian-born clarinettist, Ernesto Cavallini, was one of Europe’s most highly regarded exponents of the instrument. He was a composer of some renown, though the works were essentially for the clarinet, his large collection of Capriccios still used for teaching purposes. They cover every technique and style of playing, often calling, as in the Eighth, for a quite incredible dexterity if played up to speed, while combining this momentum with a creamy lyricism required for the following piece. And so we pass through the instruments’ many facets, the whole work lasting almost two hours if played in its entirety. That leads me to say that it is best to dip into the discs rather than use is as a work for an evening’s enjoyment, though you will be mighty impressed with the composer’s technical ability when you read in the booklet that Cavallini played, almost through his life, a six-key boxwood clarinet, and only at the end of his life ventured into the twelve-key instrument. That he could perform the gymnastic requirements of the Fourteenth, or the extended Nineteenth where he fools the ear by playing both solo and accompanying role, is amazing. Almost as extensively travelled as Cavallini, the Swedish-born soloist, Nicola Bulfone, is a superb guide through the technical challenges presented, while at the same time offering a beautiful and smooth tone, avoiding the ‘squeaks’ at the upper end that became fashionable a few decades ago. He is partnered by his award-winning Italian pupil, Marco Giani…Uncomplicated sound quality, and much commended to clarinet students. © 2014 David’s Review Corner

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