Strong Debut by Clarinetist Sam Boutris

This album is a recital by Sam Boutris. The program is comprised of composers who have especially influenced him. Not all, though wrote for the clarinet (or rather, not much). As such, it’s an album of original works for clarinet, plus some transcriptions. 

On the side of originality are two works by clarinetists. Louis Cahuzac had a successful solo career as a clarinetist in the early 1900s. His work “Cantilene” shows the clarinet at its most lyrical. 

Luigi Bassi was the principal clarinetist for La Scala in Milan. Influenced by his day job, Bassi wrote 15 operatic fantasies for clarinet. His Fantasy on the themes of Verdi’s Rigoletto is the most popular, and the one included here. Carl Nielsen’s “Fantasy Piece” is an early work, written for the clarinet. 

The transcriptions include Robert Schumann’s “Three Romances, Op. 94,” originally for cello and piano. This work has been transcribed for many solo instruments.  — in this case, the clarinet.

Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” began as a piano work, and Carl Maria von Weber’s “Andante e Rondo ungarese,” Op. 35 was originally for bassoon. 

Overall, the selections make for a varied and interesting program. 

Bourtris turns in some solid performances. His instrument has a clean, liquid tone with no harshness in the upper range. His phrasing instincts are excellent. The lyricism of these works is brought out in Boutris’ playing. 

If you want to know how the clarinet should be played. pick up (or download) a copy of Phases.

Sam Boutris, clarinet; Sophiko Simsive, piano
Musica Solis

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