Maximiliano Martin & Julian Milford
Brahms Sonatas, etc
(Champs Hill Records)
There's a little confessorial note from SCO principal clarinet Maximiliano Martin in the programme book accompanying his new CD, a recording of both of Brahms's Clarinet Sonatas. In this, Martin admits he always wonders how Richard Muhlfeld played the clarinet. Muhlfeld was the clarinettist whose playing so inspired Brahms that the composer not only pulled back from his planned retirement, but produced the raft of late masterpieces featuring the instrument. I have to say that what Martin wonders about Muhlfeld is exactly the same as many of us wonder about Spanish clarinettist Maxi, as he is known: how does he produce that liquid, endlessly mellifluous tone? Hear it yourself in this beautiful performance of the two clarinet sonatas, with Martin and pianist Julian Milford sounding seamlessly in accord. And the Fantasy Pieces by Niels Gade, a real discovery for me, are lovely little gems. A note to the company, finally: check the timings printed in the programme book - there are some discrepancies, I think.