Clarinet lover s favorite

Any clarinet lover out there? What is your favorite composer, player and recording?
Mozart's clarinet concerto, besides being THE concerto among clarinetists, is one of the greatest classical works ever composed IMO. My two favorite recordings are the ones by Karl Leister and the Berlin PO on DG and Robert Marcellus with the Cleveland O on Columbia Masterworks. The Leister for great all around interpretation of this beautiful music and the Marcellus for an example of beautiful and luscious if at times rigid clarinet tone. Leister is my all around favorite clarinetist; not just his solo recordings but also his work as principal with the Berlin PO. Check out his recordings (on DG) with the Amadeus String Qt. of the Brahms clarinet Trio and Quintet. Two of the most beautiful and popular chamber works for the instrument. My second favorite player is Harold Wright who until his death was principal with the Boston SO. Some of my favorite recordings of his are the Robert Schumann Fantasy Pieces and the Brahms pieces with Peter Serkin on Boston Records and the gorgeous "Shepherd on the Rock" by Schubert with Rudolf Serkin and Benita Valenti on Columbia. For something more modern try Pierre Boulez and Ensemble Intercontemporain on DG featuring Stravinsky's "Ebony Concerto" with Michel Arrignon and Alain Damains playing the "Solo Pieces". Two of the hottest clarinetists on the scene today. Stanley Drucker's Copland Concerto on Columbia is also a must. In a jazz vein: Benny of course, if that's the style that turns you on; specially his sextet recordings. Although I sometimes prefer to listen to Artie Shaw. Benny's forays into classical music don't do it for me. Buddy DeFranco is my favorite jazz player and still sounding great. I can't think of a recording of his that I don't like. "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me" on Concord Jazz with Dave McKenna and Joe Cohn stands out in my mind. Some of Eddie Daniels' recordings are very exciting for sheer virtuosity in a more contemporary vein. Ron Odrich is one of the unsung heroes of the clarinet and practically unknown outside of musicians' circles (he is also one of NYC's leading periodontists); his latest "Visions" is worth buying. And lastly, I'll put in a plug for a recording soon to be released: The American Saxophone Quartet's "The Clarinet Project" featuring three of the leading clarinetists today. Larry Combs (principal with the Chicago Symphony) Ron Odrich and Paquito D'Rivera. Enjoy.
Try any of the Richard Stoltzman's CDs playing a wide selections of music (Dreams, Visions, Spirits, Open Sky, etc.) by RCA Victor.
Vtvu, there's a good reason Frogman did not mention Stoltzman, and Frogman sounds like he knows his clarinet players. Two of my favorite recordings that also SOUND marvelous are Eddie Daniels on Reference Recordings, Brahms Quintet, and, Andrew Marriner, a Tavener piece called 'The Repentant Thief' on Collins. I once heard Stolzman live, play (at) the Copland concerto....I don't think so.
In fairness to Vtvu's recommendation, I must say that for whatever it is worth Stolzman has accomplished the seemingly impossible. He has gained name recogniton as a soloist on an instrument that, as far as woodwinds go, is not nearly as popular as the saxophone or the flute. He does have a certain charm about him on stage that appeals to many, and his playing can also at times have that charm. He is considered by players something of a rebel. He does some unorthodox things such as the use of vibrato in some music where traditionally the clarinet does not do that. To me there is a hard to describe "throw caution to the wind" kind of attitude that I personally find refreshing at times but that drives most players I know absolutely nuts. My favorite recording of his is "Quartet For The End Of Time" by Messiaen. Hitsbbop, Eddie Daniels is one of the most incredible virtuosos on the instrument although I find his jazz work, particularly his crossover stuff, much more convincing than his classical work. Most don't realize that he is just as accomplished on the saxophone and the flute. An amazing feat. My favorite recordings of his are his very first; a duo recording with guitarist Bucky Pizzareli and "Breakthrough" and also his work with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis big band (on tenor sax) from the '70's. I had the good fortune of being able to hear Stanley Drucker play the Copland concerto five times during the NY Philharmonic's Asia tour. Every single performance was different from the previous; and in a good way. That should lay to rest the naive idea that classical artists are simply reading notes and lack spontenaity. Cheers.
Hi Frogman: I'm glad you responded for I can tell you know your clarinet stuff.

Granted, Stolzman (or RCA/BMG) has elevated the visibility of the clarinet to the great unwashed. It makes me wonder that if RCA/BMG had backed Eddie Daniels would not the same thing have happened for an even better reason. Frankly, I think Daniels is just a better clarinet player, and that would include classical. On recordings, Daniels hasn't been given enough opportunity to prove his classical chops, IMHO. I first heard him with Thad Jones/Mel Lewis live in 1966 at the Village Vanquard in New York and I knew he was something special, dueling, as it were, on tenor, with the late, great Joe Farrell. Hell, I didn't even know then that clarinet was his principal instrument. I learned later that one of his teachers in New York was Joe Allard, a clarinet teacher legend, which probably accounts for that marvelous sound. Last spring I heard Daniels give a workshop up front and personal at Rice University and the sound and technique he got out of that instrument was just incredible. If you ever had the misfortune of hearing the Stolzman recording with the Woody Herman band you'd know that 'caution' is Stolzman's best friend. Cheez, it's embarrasing. Frogman, you are indeed lucky (you must have been on the staff) to hear Drucker play the Copland that many times in that short a time. I just wish I could hear Daniels play it once, on a recording, but nobody's biting. I asked him.
My nomination is an old one, Jimmy Giuffre 3 on Atlantic Records. The cut that comes to mind is one of my all time Jazz favorites, "The Train and The River." This piece was recorded with the help of guitarist Jim Hall. A close second choice from this same period is "Western Suite." These works are still available from Mosiac on CD (LP sold out) and to my thinking, represents Jazz clarinet at it's best. By the way, Jimmy Giuffre is also known for his work as a clarinetist, arranger, composer and band leader. He worked with Woody Herman, Paul Bley and Steve Swallow, Pee Wee Russell and the Modern Jazz Quartet. Consider giving him a listen if your a Jazz lover.
Travis, I agree with your comments concerning Stolzman and Daniels. Daniels is the superior clarinet player, and by a long shot. The question of a major label backing him is a bit complicated IMO. Marketing is a funny thing and it's oftentimes hard to understand why record cos. make certain decisions. If I had to go out on a limb concerning this example I suspect that Eddie, given his jazz and doubling background, is perceived as a tough sell. And, I'm really going out on a limb with this one, Eddie has a reputation for being very demanding and difficult to work with as far as business goes. Having said all that, while I agree with your assesment of his abilities, I still feel that his classical music sensibility is not quite as developed as that of players such as Leister, Drucker, Wright and others; or of his own jazz sensibility for that matter. You are obviously a fan of his, as am I, so you might be interested in some of this: Eddie was (is) notorious in the NYC scene for being an absolutely obsessive practicer (is there such a word?) to the extent that he would alienate colleagues because he couldn't stop noodling during brakes and would do so quitely even during rests in the music. That accounts for his incredible technique. He is also a bonafide equipment freak; constantly changing mouthpieces and horns and working on reeds while looking for the perfect setup. Driven is an understatement. By the way, he is also an accomplished pianist. Many players in NYC idolized him. All this in interesting contrast to Drucker who couldn't care less about having just the right reed nor horn. Stanley never works on reeds. Drucker is a freak of nature in that regard; he was born to play the clarinet. Wonderful sense of abandon in his playing. And while his playing is not always perfect as far as pitch nor sound are concerned; one just never knows when he'll do something to really surprise and make you say WOW! Cheers.
Thanks to all of you, especially to Frogman for your recommnendation. It will be a pleasure to find those recording suggested by all of you.
Karl Leister is one of my favorite clarinet player. I have his Quintet by Max Reger with Drolc Quartet and enjoyed it very much.
I remembered there was an old recording of Weber's quintet by Viena philharmonic but can not remember who played it. Any helps!