Hollywood Bowl is probably the world's most unlikely spot for a successful clarinet recital. But Richard Stoltzman managed, through charming repertorial choices and an equally winning personality, to captivate his audience Wednesday--for half an evening, anyway.
After a dreary first half devoted to humdrum readings of the forgettable Grand Duo Concertante by Weber and the overly serious F-minor Sonata by Brahms, Stoltzman unexpectedly turned entertainer.
Post-intermission, a small but attentive audience of 4,485 settled in and found themselves facing a darkened stage. Suddenly, a spotlight found Stoltzman in the lower level of boxes, and followed him as he bobbed and weaved among the crowd, playing a brief, witty Entrata by William McKinley--the composer, not the President. By the time the clarinetist disappeared into the wings, he had won over the listeners. And he didn't let them down.
Moving swiftly through five irresistible Dance Preludes by Lutoslawski and the ever-delightful Sonata of Poulenc, Stoltzman brought down the house with a glimpse of another side of his musical personality--the jazz side, courtesy of Thelonious Monk.