Schubert: Shepherd on the Rock

Ailish Tynan, Julian Bliss, Christopher Glynn

(Signum Classics)

SCHUBERT’S Shepherd on the Rock is an iconic work. But it is tricky to programme. It’s only about 12 minutes long. So how do you contextualise it? Trickier, as it requires a soprano, pianist and clarinettist, what do you put with it? Clarinettist Julian Bliss, a champion of all things clarinet, and a musical missionary, has come up with a notion that works beautifully, resulting in a lovely, mixed-genre recital that might have purists squirming. Bliss has eschewed purism, made some arrangements and fashioned from it all a lovely evening of domestic music-making. So we have Chopin’s opus 3 Polonaise brillante with a clarinet part, Richard Strauss’s Morgen, beautifully sung by Ailish Tynan, with the solo violin replaced by clarinet, and so on. Tynan also sings Schubert’s Ave Maria luminously, and some popular Brahms’ Lieder, while Bliss and pianist Glynn play Schumann’s Fantasiestucke. Bliss also transfers Brahms’ FAE Sonata from violin to clarinet. Not to everybody’s taste, but charming.

Michael Tumelty