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Music Review : Stoltzman The Showman In Recital

September 06, 1985|MARC SHULGOLD

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.

Joined by expert bass player Eddie Gomez for two of the jazz giant's inventive melodies (" 'Round Midnight" and "Well, You Needn't"), Stoltzman proved a skilled, uninhibited be-bopper--and not too shabby an improviser.

Perhaps buoyed by his material, the clarinetist revealed a warmer and more even tone in the second half than he had displayed with the Weber and Brahms.

The program proper ended when pianist Irma Vallecillo (an ever-attentive and nimble collaborator all evening long) joined the duo for Monk's rousing, Gershwin-inspired "Rhythmaning."

In encore, Stoltzman offered Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" (the source of the program-closer) and a brief rendition (dedicated to his father) of "Amazing Grace."

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