Fantasia - Martin - Clarinet Magazine

Maximiliano Martín is a young clarinetist of distinction. He currently serves as principal clarinet of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and has been guest principal with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic, and the Munich Chamber Orchestra among others. His new CD release for Linn Records follows his earlier release on the same label of the Mozart Concerto.

Martín has combined a program of standard repertoire with three lovely pieces by composers from Spain. These works reflect his own upbringing in the Canary Islands followed by study in Barcelona. Antonio Romero y Andía's Fantasy on Themes from Lucrecia Borgia combines long-spun andante and allegro melodies with showy flourishes of scales, trills, arpeggios, and cadenza passages in this ten-and-a-half minute work. The diversity of themes and their treatments reflect the multi-element plot from Donizetti's opera based on Victor Hugo's 1833 tragedy. Composer/clarinetist Romero y Andía (1815-1885) was a native of Madrid. As a clarinetist he made his debut at 14. He became solo clarinetist and music director of the Royal Court Orchestra and from 1849-1876 was the clarinet professor at the Madrid Conservatory, where he wrote several clarinet methods. Antonio Romero is remembered for the clarinet key system that carries his name.

Miguel Yuste Moreno (1870-1947) also taught at the Madrid Conservatory. He was known for his virtuosic playing and his many students. Martín has recorded Yuste's Estudio Melódico, a six-and-a-half minute minor key melody with a cadenza, and the equally charming Capricho Pintoresco. The Capricho Pintoresco is nearly eight minutes in duration. Martín sensitively and imaginatively plays the inviting and lovely slow opening. Following a virtuosic cadenza passage, a folk dance-like melody reminiscent of Grieg's Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, leads to a brillante ending.

In the works by Lutoslawski, Debussy, Poulenc, and Nielsen, Martín has excellent rapport and coordination with pianist Negrín. Martín's technical mastery of the clarinet is evidenced by the smoothness, speed, and precision with which he performs. His Nielsen Fantasy interpretation is very dramatic. In both the Lutoslawski and Debussy he demonstrates his ability for rapid articulation. The Debussy also shows a nice range of moods and beautiful connections between notes in the altissimo register.
Throughout the recording, Martín is musical and convincing. His pitch and control are excellent. The clarinet and piano are in perfect balance with each other. Fantasia is in the audiophile SACD format and is playable on all standard CD players. It sounds as though the microphones were placed very close to Martín. On a better than average sound system, I was able to clearly hear sounds of breathing, fingers closing tone holes, and a slightly fuzzy reed in quieter passages. This recording is very lifelike and, in sum, very appreciated by this reviewer.

Clarinet Magazine
05 March 2007