, February 2018
At the start of my journey through this set, I was amazed by the variety of instrumentation Koechlin employs. The clarinet is the focus of the first CD, and Dirk Altmann’s expressive playing and warm, radiant tone are compelling.
The flute is centre stage on CD 2. Koechlin’s melodic gifts shine more on this disc than on the others.
The third disc begins with the Portrait de Daisy Hamilton for clarinet and piano mentioned above. The CD also includes works for oboe, bassoon and cor anglais. The opening movement of the Oboe Sonata has an attractive pastoral flavour. The Stèle funéraire for 3 Flutes, Op. 224, in which Peter Thalheimer executes the passages on flute, piccolo, and alto flute, is powerful.
We turn to the viola and cello on CD 4. The Vingt Chansons Bretonnes Op. 115, for cello and piano (1931–1932), are skilful arrangements of twenty Breton folksongs. Ingenuity and invention lie at the heart of these pieces, which exploit the cello’s technical arsenal to the full.
The Koechlin piano output is substantial and fills three CDs. The performer is the German pianist Michael Korstick. His performances are assured, accomplished and immaculately poised. He judges the ephemeral characters of the music with instinctive sensitivity, animated vitality and poetic sensibility. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review