Midway in an all-Brahms chamber concert by Philharmonic members came the Clarinet Quintet, a late work not often heard, music of lavender and deep purple, shot through with burnished-bronze outcries from the solo wind player…. …waves of deep, penetrating beauty. Midway in the slow movement David Howard’s solo clarinet unwound its slithering melodic line across the musical spectrum; the strings answered with passionate shivers, and their moonstruck conversation continues to echo in my skull days later. That’s Brahms.
David plays nickel-plated Buffet R13 clarinets. For our recording he used a Vandoren B40 mouthpiece, Vandoren traditional number 3 reeds, and a Rovner dark ligature. For the works by Steve Stucky and Esa-Pekka Salonen which we recorded in Zipper Hall at Colburn School, Vicki Ray plays Steinway Concer & Artists piano number 599 made in New York. For the trio by Galina Ustvolskaya, Vicki plays New York Steinway 562930, chosen for the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall with the help of Hélène Grimaud. Violinist Johnny Lee plays an instrument made in 1807 by Pirot. In the Brahms quintet, first violinist Lyndon Taylor plays the Perkins Stradivarius from 1708, Kristine Hedwall plays a Carletti violin made in 1941, John Hayhurst plays a Sgarabotto viola from 1908, and ‘cellist Gloria Lum plays a Vincenzo Postiglione, built in 1877.