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Fell Clarinet Ouartet

Graham Fltkin (b. 1963) Vent (1994)
Eddie McGuire (b 1948) Celtic Knotwork (1990/94) Chinese Knotwork (2001)
Pierre Max Dubois (1930-1995) Quatuor (1964)
Lenny Sayers (b 1977) For Four (2001)
Alfred Uhl (1909-1992) Divertimento (1942)
Nicholas Simpson (b. 1958) Mardale Changes (2005)
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) Histoire duTango (1986)


Colin Blamey clarinet & bass clarinet Helen Bywater clarinet Marianne Rawles clarinet & E flat clarinet Lenny Sayers clarinet & bass clarinet

Delphian DCD34065 [Recorded October 2007: TT 74 mins]

A sensible project for young musicians building their careers. Meet at college (RNCM), play together wherever and whenever, prisons and special needs schools as well as residency at University of Salford, tour Scotland and make a CD with Delphian which should sell well at their gigs...

Whether it suffices to promote 'discovery of a little-known medium' is more doubtful. The "clarity of the unmixed ensemble" suits Grahame Fitkin's forthright manner. Tthe Fell Quartet's attempt at emancipation from "arrangements of classical bits and Mancini standards" is a worthy aim, and this CD should be in all clarinet department lists and College libraries.

I enjoyed McGuire's take on Chinese-pentatonic cliche, burbling in protracted decrescendo to its end. The Quatuor of anti-radicalist Uhl is attractive, but in the last movement he seems unable to stop... The Piazzola arrangements are attractive and almost makes you forgive the absence of the bandoneon.

Saxophone quartets are well established, but I don't like them much... The clarinet quartet is a relative novelty, and in this CD there is a tendency to force jollity; I would think that these keen musicians are better advised to go for short or shared concerts.

As usual with Delphian, Knotwork is impeccably produced with a good background essay and lots of good colour photos. This CD should prove a useful quarry for presenters of radio recordings programmes.

Peter Grahame Woolf