Brahms - Clarinet Sonatas and Trio

FMG Artists - 003

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Igor Frantisak (clarinet), Petr Prause (cello ), Martin Kasik (piano).

Text: Czech, English. Recorded: Mar. 2015 (Op. 120), Nov. 2016 (Op. 114), Saint Lawrence Church, Prague. Released: 2017.

TT: 67.03. I CD, FMG Artists 003.

The Ostrava-based clarinettist Igor Frantisak (b. 1974) is what can be termed a versatile artist. A graduate of the Ostrava Conservatory and University, where he studied with Valter Vitek, he has attended master classes led by the renowned champions of informed clarinet performance Hoeprich, Neidich and Leitherer, and appeared as a soloist with numerous Czech and international orchestras. A founder of the Stadler Clarinet Guartet (1994), he is a sought-after and respected chamber player. Furthermore, Igor Frantisak is today a distinguished clarinet teacher at the Faculty of Arts of Ostrava University, and he has served as the director of the Saint Wenceslas Music Festival in Ostrava (since 2004), the largest early and sacred music event in the city and region, having the worst social and artistic conditions for continuous presentation of the genre. Even though having been extremely busy as an educator and manager, Frantisak has continued to evolve as an artist, having been invited by Czech early music ensembles more frequently than any other to play Baroque chalumeau and classicist clarinet parts. Remarkable indeed. Yet Frantisak is an artist possessing a truly robust will, a man who has directed the most popular music festival in the Moravia-Silesia Region; he is a relentless teacher, soloist and chamber player, and also an artist making recordings, among them the two reviewed CDs, featuring Mozart's and Brahms's works for clarinet and piano or string instruments, in all likelihood the most exquisite repertoire of chamber music with clarinet.

The recording microphones are merciless, and many an artist with managerial ambitions has failed vis-a-vis the equipment, especially when the recording has been made live. Yet Frantisak has risen to the challenge with honour. One of the main reasons may well have been his fortunate selection of all the partners: the pianist Martin Kasik, the cellist Petr Prause (a member of the Talich Guartet), and the Zemlinsky Quartet. Amidst the fierce competition, the album of Mozart's and Brahms's clarinet quintets Igor Frantisak has made with the Zemlinsky Quartet came to me as a great surprise, a revelation even, owing to the choice of spontaneous tempos, highly expressive dialogues between the cello or the first violin and the clarinet, as well as the well-coordinated ensemble playing (one cannot get tired of the introductory beats of Brahms's quintet as performed by them). Given that they are live accounts devoid of the audiences' applause, they are of a truly remarkable technical quality, as are the audio recordings made by Jiff Gemrot (sonatas, trio) and Frantisek Mixa (quintets). …



Sonata F Minor For Clarinet And Piano Op. 120 No. 1

  • 1. Allegro Appassionato
  • 2. Andante Un Poco Adagio
  • 3. Allegretto Grazioso
  • 4. Vivace

 Sonata E Flat Major For Clarinet And Piano Op. 120 No. 2

  • 5. Allegro Amabele
  • 6. Allegro Appassionato
  • 7. Andante Con Moto, Allegro

 Trio A Minor For Clarinet, Cello And Piano Op. 114

  • 8. Allegro
  • 9. Adagio
  • 10. Andante Grazioso
  • 11. Allegro