review

Embrace: clarinet and piano: Musica Solis

This review was published on: May 1st 2021
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The following review is taken from the Spring 2021 issue of Clarinet & Saxophone magazine. For more reviews, news, and features from the single-reed world, join to receive our quarterly magazine and other membership benefits.


Embrace
Music for clarinet and piano arranged by Seunghee Lee
Musica Solis

In the Winter 2018 issue of Clarinet & Saxophone I reviewed Hidden Treasures – a book of operatic transcriptions by the New-York based clarinettist Seunghee Lee. Her latest publication is a new collection of arrangements and transcriptions for clarinet and piano called Embrace. Lee actually recorded a CD of the same name in 2011, but it is not until now that the accompanying sheet music book has been published.

The beautifully produced book contains 18 works, most of which are attractive romantic style miniatures. Only the Pierné Canzonetta is an original piece for clarinet and piano. Some of the transcriptions are for A clarinet, but where this is the case the book contains a transposed B flat version. Many of the pieces are transcriptions for clarinet of famous piano pieces, such the Chopin Nocturne in C minor, or Schumann’s Kinderszenen. Other sources of inspiration include songs such as the ‘Lindenbaum’ from Schubert’s Winterreise.

From a technical perspective the most challenging piece in the book is an arrangement of a little-known piece called The Butterfly by Alexander Ilyinsky. This is a real technical workout of continuous fast-flowing quavers over the full range of the instrument. The printed book only contains the clarinet part; piano accompaniments are accessed from Seunghee Lee’s website as a PDF downloads (www.seungheeclarinet.com).

The CD, available separately, demonstrates Lee’s lyrical qualities with a rich velvety sound ideally suited to this repertoire. Congratulations to Lee for providing this collection of well-known music for clarinet players to enjoy.

Andrew Smith

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