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.
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