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It's a little gem

Robert Plane Contrasts - Impressions of Hungary

The Guardian, Erica Jeal 

Contrasts – Impressions of Hungary
Robert Plane

Clarinettist Robert Plane was inspired to record this all-Hungarian programme by the discovery of a previously unheard 1949 trio by Tibor Serly called Chamber Folk Music. That title could apply to most of what’s here: the piquant harmonies and itchy rhythms of Hungarian folk music are never far away, and the performances are poised and idiomatic. It opens with Bartók’s Contrasts, written for Benny Goodman, and closes with the Brahmsian sweep of Ernő Dohnányi’s Sextet, taking in works by Rózsa, Kurtág and Weiner on the way.

Serly settled in New York aged 10 but returned to Hungary to study, and his trio reflects this: Gershwinesque episodes, first languid and then gently perky, frame a lament for clarinet and violin that looks longingly towards Budapest. It’s a little gem, and the light touch adopted by Plane together with violinist Lucy Gould and pianist Benjamin Frith is ideal.

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