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Patrick Hanudel
American Record Guide, May 2017

Lang plays the variations with polish and awareness; and Mueller and the Cincinnati Philharmonia accompany the delicate yet difficult concerto with excellent skill and precision, allowing the composer’s vivid sound world to come alive and interact with the soloist.

The autumnal Trio is the most affecting piece. While Francaix still has his trademark Gallic humor, the themes and harmonies often travel in unexpected directions, and the slow movements are strikingly dark. Meinich and Glemser bring a lightness and grace to the Trio that work well in both the wildly cheerful and the startlingly ghostly parts, and together with Ashkenazy they make one of the composer’s last works a profound statement. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Richard A. Kaplan
Fanfare, May 2017

The Clarinet Concerto is a technically fearsome piece—some would even say gratuitously difficult—and has received only a half-dozen or so recordings. Its thematic material is sometimes banal, and, like most of Françaix’s music, it is harmonically conservative. Ashkenazy manages its technical challenges comfortably, if not effortlessly, and the top orchestra of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory handles the difficult accompaniment well. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Marc Rochester
MusicWeb International, April 2017

This is a feel-good CD on two counts. The music is so captivatingly charming and the playing is so unutterably good.

All the hallmarks of the Françaix style are here in full measure. Jaunty, cheerfully uplifting movements, often carrying his trademark tempo indications (allegrissimo, prestissimo, scherzando) are juxtaposed with sentimental slow movements which keep emotion at arm’s length and simply relish the propensity of these instruments to create long, mellifluous lines.

Son of such an eminent musical father, it is little wonder that Dmitri Ashkenazy impresses most by the musicality of his playing rather than his virtuosity. But the technical challenges of this music are so deftly handled that he is clearly an extraordinarily gifted player. Evoking the jazz characteristics of the clarinet, particularly in the Trio, Françaix sends the instrument up and down its register, and Ashkenazy runs across its huge range with an athleticism which is as astonishing as it is effective.

This is, by any standards, an outstanding performance in which Ashkenazy is joined by pianist Bernd Glesmer and violist Ada Meinich, both of whom clearly share his affection for the work’s jazz-infused acrobatics. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review





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