GRIGORI FRID (1915-2012): Clarinet Sonatas No. 1, Op. 53, No. 2, Op. 62/2 and No. 3, Op. 75.
Catalogue Number: 07U055
Reference: 903 2069-6
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Frid was among the many hugely talented musicians who managed somehow to flourish under the Soviet regime. His biography is not untypical - wars, deprivation, father sent to Siberia - but he maintained his individuality and creativity, not only as composer, but also painter, writer, educator and promoter of younger composers' music. His style developed throughout his career, from accomplished Russian-Soviet in his early works to a broader, more stylistically varied approach after the 1970s. The clarinet sonatas usefully bracket these developments; the first and longest is a fine, three-movement structure, with no small influence of Shostakovich (a curious, uncredited quotation in the booklet notes appears to suggest that Shostakovich's late Viola Sonata was written under the influence of Frid's fine 1st (recorded on 02R036, the notes for which are the best readily available appreciation of Frid's career), from a few years earlier. There are undeniable links - the two were friends and held each other in high esteem). The Second is a more original work, harmonically and in terms of its material, though still very tonal and far from unconventional. By the time he wrote the Third, Frid had established himself as a champion of 'progressive' composers like Zimmermann and Schnittke, and polystylism, dodecaphony and atonality had found their way into his own music, but not in any of these works. The Third Sonata is predominantly elegiac, and sounds like a more personal and tragic work - and a greater and more powerful one, frankly - than the other two. John Finucane (clarinet), Elizaveta Blumina (piano).