Chaconne: Recital for Bass Clarinet & Piano
Michael Davenport, bass clarinet
Kimberly Davenport, piano

Chaconne is a recording of a live recital given by Michael and Kimberly Davenport in Washington in July 2002. Michael Davenport is artistic director of Tacoma New Music, Washington, USA, and some of his transcriptions are featured on this recording. Kimberly Davenport completed here M.M. in piano in 1998, and she is currently a busy soloist and accompanist.

The recital opens with an expressive performance of Hindemith's Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, which was transcribed with Hindemith's permission for the Bass Clarinettist Josef Horak. A transcription of the lyrical Canto Serioso by Carl Nielsen for horn follows.

The Norwegian composer Conrad Baden's Sonata for Bass Clarinet and Piano Op. 116, which was composed in 1978, is next. The two outer movements are jovial in character, whilst the middle slower movement is warm and expressive. This is followed by an impressive performance of a transcription by Michael Davenprot of Bach's Chaconne from Violin Partita No.2. Lasting nearly 17 minutes, this is no mean feat!

In his transcription of Rachmaninov's Vocalise Op.34 No.14, Davenport features the altissimo range of the bass clarinet, maintaining the range of the original soprano voice version. His tone is smooth and he achieves a wide range of colours and dynamics.

The CD closes with dramatic performances of the Ballad for Bass Clarinet and Piano by Wolfgang Gabriel and Schubert's L'Abeille (The Bee).

This is a most enjoyable CD. The selection of music is interesting and varied, and the players bring the pieces to live. If you are not familiar with bass clarinet playing (or even if you are) I would recommend that you listen to this. It has certainly inspired me to investigate some of the bass clarinet repertoire - I am particularly looking forward to learning the Conrad Baden Sonata.

- Carol Taylor