JWR Articles: CD - Nuccio, Opening Night (Featured performer: Mark Nuccio) - September 28, 2007
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Nuccio, Opening Night

3.5 3.5
43 min.

DSL-206102
Fresh points of view

The recording catalogue is not lacking for entries for these two stellar quintets—every clarinettist worth his mettle must face the challenge of adding another take on this much-loved music. Two approaches are required: for Mozart, the clarinet leads in a soloistic capacity while in Brahms the clarinet is the fifth colour in a work that teems with emotion and insight into the human experience. Mark Nuccio is a worthy heir to the Robert Marcellus legacy of clear tone, sparkling articulation and “no-slap” legato. In both works he coaxes a marvellous array of lines and shading from his Buffet clarinets and is only held back by a reed that tends to slightly close at just the wrong moments, notably in the return after the marvellously dreamy scale sequence and cadenza in the Mozart “Larghetto.” His technical skills are incredible, tossing off staccato arpeggios and split-second register changes (Mozart, “Allegretto con Variazioni”) with ease and aplomb. Performing/recording live guarantees a “complete,” “you are there” account but must also endure the candy wrappers and coughs that audiences hold back during intermission and unleash as the composers reveal their most personal thoughts (the closing measures of the Brahms “Adagio” is forever spoiled). Sound engineers Daniel Shores and Brandie Lane have achieved an agreeable balance but might consider a touch less reverb and a slightly more distant mic placement—we don’t need to hear the finger board pitch tests from the quartet. Nuccio’s colleagues provide assured support but, collectively, are unable to let the pulse settle until the music repeats (Is the Mozart first movement in 2 or in 4?) or truly relax into the art (consider rendering the Brahms “Andantino” as indicated “semplice” and find the magic that lurks in every measure). Still, the integrity of the musicians is never in doubt and, quibbles aside, this disc will enhance any collection. JWR

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Featured performer - Mark Nuccio
Sound Engineer - Daniel Shores, Brandie Lane
Repertoire:
Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Quintet in B Minor for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 115 - Johannes Brahms
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