SONY ISSUES 40-CD RICHARD STOLTZMAN BOX
(“An artist of indescribable genius.” WASHINGTON POST)
Catalog# RCA 88985389642
SONY pays tribute to the legacy of “pied piper” clarinetist
Richard Stoltzman with a fascinating 40-CD box set that illustrates
the impact this “magical” artist has had on the world of music.
He is the first (and only) clarinetist to give recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium (with Benny Goodman in attendance) and the Hollywood Bowl, and at venues around the world that had never heard
a classical clarinet recital. He is the first clarinetist to solo with over 200 U.S. and international orchestras. And, he is an artist for whom scores of composers, including Foss, Rautavaara and Takemitsu, wrote concertos, while others arranged works by Bernstein for him and orchestra. Steve Reich wrote ‘New York Counterpoint’ for him and a recorded clarinet choir of ten Richard Stoltzmans. A founding member of the legendary TASHI ensemble, Richard Stoltzman became a musical pioneer giving the clarinet a new and expanded role as a captivating solo instrument –
a truly American voice.
He not only won a Grammy for his recording of the Brahms Sonatas with master pianist Richard Goode, he also won one for trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax and received three more nominations, including one for ‘Ebony’ with Woody Herman’s “Thundering Herd.” It was Herman, for whom Stravinsky had written the “Ebony Concerto” — a piece Herman felt he could never master — who invited Stoltzman to tour with him playing jazz and the thorny Stravinsky work.
Stoltzman recorded numerous Billboard-charted hit crossover albums produced by Spyro Gyra member Jeremy Wall, the first being ‘Begin Sweet World’, and also recorded ‘Innervoices’with singer Judy Collins. He recorded concertos by Mozart, Weber, Rossini and more with Alexander Schneider, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra; Copland, Bernstein and Gershwin with Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra; Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax; Bartok, Stravinsky and Ives trios with violinist Lucy Chapman and Richard Goode; Schubert and Schumann with Ax; and Mozart, Brahms and Weber quintets with the Cleveland and Tokyo String Quartets.
That is just a small sampling of the riches included in this Stoltzman box.
On the lighter side are delightful crossover albums with composer/arranger Bill Douglas on keyboards, jazz great bassist Eddie Gomez and other noted artists including ‘Brasil’, ‘Hark’, ‘Dreams,’ ‘ Visions,’ ‘Spirits,’ ‘Open Sky’ as well as an album of opera arias and one of poignant themes – ‘Lamento.’
An important part of this treasure box are the seven recordings by TASHI, the groundbreaking group formed in 1973 to play Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.” Their recording remains the gold standard for this work, which they played as the first classical group to play in a nightclub – The Bottom Line. They championed presenting programs of new and traditional repertoire and took concert dress from white tie and tails to Indian shirts and espadrilles.
The Stoltzman Box is a truly great American story — a testament to our country and to a native of Nebraska who almost became a dentist but instead took up the iconic American instrument — the clarinet — and made it and himself an international star. As a youngster, he played “Amazing Grace” and “Abide with Me” on Sundays at church with his father on sax and his grandmother on piano. He first came to public attention playing the works of the great European classical composers about whom he learned so much during many formative summers at the Marlboro Music Festival with artists such as Rudolf Serkin, Pablo Casals, Alexander Schneider and others. His artistry inspired new generations of composers to write for him, illuminating his interest in contemporary music, but he also remained true to his love of jazz and his versatility gave him the opportunity to play with such artists as Chick Corea, Steve Gadd, Keith Jarrett, George Shearing and Wayne Shorter.
The Washington Post said it all, and the recordings in the SONY Stoltzman Box bear it out:
“He is an artist of indescribable genius.” “Stoltzman is the preeminent soloist on the clarinet today. He is a musician of flawless taste, one with few rivals anywhere on any instrument.”