Four Pieces: David Lampel, Clarinet and piano, Gerard Billaudot, £7.95

This review was published on: December 16th 2013

Swedish composer David Lampel now spends his time between Sweden and France.

Number one is a fiery little number with clarinet and piano alternating dissonant ideas like a cat-and-mouse chase. Crotchet is supposed to equal 168 but this is difficult to keep due to the frequent time changes. It's not for long though, just under one minute. A lugubrious Andante follows although it is not too gloomy and the long legato clarinet lines over the rhythmical swaying of the piano reminds me of Prokofiev's slower piano concerto movements. The 25 bars here last for just over two minutes. Number three is a lively Presto with more changes from simple to compound time plus the odd irregular bar thrown in. The tempo is not quite as quick as Number one and it is not too complex to fit with the piano. The patterns here all make sense and there is some similarity with the main motif in Number one. The slow eight-bar pattern of the Passacaglia is two bars each of four, then three, four and three again so at least the time changes here are a little more balanced. The low fortissimo opening reminds me of the Saint-Saens Sonata third movement but only very briefly. The greatest challenge here is keeping the slow lines smooth and sustained. Overall this is difficult to play but as short pieces in a very modern style they are worthy of some study if 21st century clarinet music has yet to be explored.

Stephanie Reeve

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