French clarinetist Hugo Cledat performed an exquisite recital in the School of Music recital hall. He began with Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsodie, whose ethereal quality he captured with a sweetly penetrating tone, and whose final section he played with brilliance and passion. The next piece, Donatoni’s Clair for unaccompanied clarinet, was a marked contrast in style, with extreme altissimo notes and cascading trills and scales in what sounded sometimes like a free-jazz improvisation and sometimes like an aviary of very excitable birds. Cledat performed the work with incredible control and a most remarkable sense of charm and even occasional humor. The brief recital finished with an arrangement of Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy made by Nicolas Baldeyrou. Cledat’s rendition made it sound as if this warhorse had in fact been originally written for clarinet, tackling the virtuosic writing and leaping all over the clarinet’s range with great panache and style. Cledat brought a balance of sensitivity and playfulness to the program that was a joy to hear.
–Notes by Michael Rowlett
Michael Rowlett is the assistant Professor of Clarinet at The University of Mississippi. You can find his CD Close to Home: Music of American Composers on Amazon and Albany Records.