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Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, January 2013

…it was with great enthusiasm that I looked forward to this recording, and I was not in the least bit disappointed. Shifrin always seems to be able to bring out so much character in the groups he supervises and/or participates in, partly, I suspect, due to the extremely high quality of his musical friends, and those here are no exception. From the first notes of Copland’s Sextet, one of his finest works and a reduction of his Short Symphony, one is immediately riveted by the high quality of the music and its performance.

…Stephen Hartke’s The Horse with the Lavender Eye…really sparkles with Hartke’s crazy-clockwork rhythms and quirky harmonic shifts…it’s a delightfully quirky piece given an equally delightful, and quirky, reading.

This appears to be the first, and only, recording of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Trio in Red. Its first movement, “Orange Circle, Yellow Line” is largely plaintive and moody, albeit with a staccato piano accompaniment. Gradually, however, it morphs into the busy, spiraling melodic line of the middle section before relaxing the tempo once again. The second part, “Red Whirl,” is an almost-chaotic-sounding piece that ends on a high cadence. This also appears to be the premiere recording of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra. It is typical of her wonderful style, beginning with a brash, cheerful first movement before shifting gears into an elegy for the victims of the 9/11 tragedy.

…there is no mistaking the deeply felt quality of the performance, so much so that the emotion is palpable, nor the high quality of the concerto itself. I have no hesitation in recommending this disc. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Patrick Hanudel
American Record Guide, November 2012

The Zwilich Clarinet Concerto is a halfhour tour-de-force that juxtaposes powerful modernist dances with hearfelt romantic laments. The composer’s eloquent clarinet writing, picturesque scoring, and gripping emotional content are wholly engaging; and the work is undoubtedly an important contribution to the clarinet literature.

The performances are professional and convincing. Shifrin and his colleagues tackle each score with all their technical and artistic resources, embracing the thorny and aggressive as well as shaping moments of breathtaking beauty and sadness. Some clarinetists may wish for more fluidity and resonance in Shifrin’s playing, but his musicianship and leadership are always on display, and his rendition of the Zwilich should ensure its place in every clarinetist’s library. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Daniel Coombs
Audiophile Audition, October 2012

This wonderful recording features first class performances all around, including that of pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, who plays in all but the Zwilich.

As good as the musicianship is in this CD, the real pleasure—and a couple of pleasant surprises—may be the music, itself.

This is really one of the better clarinet discs I have encountered all year. I have long admired David Shifrin’s playing and his obvious artistry. The same is true for the supporting staff. The members of CMNW represented here as some of the world’s best musicians. Every composer represented here should not require an introduction. If Copland is the historical founder of an “American” sound in music; then Hartke, Kernis and Zwilich are some of the best known and most respected of his “descendents.”   I recommend this recording strongly for the performances, the music and the marvelous sound quality by the engineers at Delos. © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

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