Magazine article Czech Music

Karel Dohnal: Kubin, Francaix, Kabelac

Magazine article Czech Music

Karel Dohnal: Kubin, Francaix, Kabelac

Article excerpt

Karel Dohnal

Kubin, Francaix, Kabelac

Karel Dohnal--clarinet, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Marko Ivanovic, Ondrej Vrabec conductors.

Text: English, Czech. Recorded: Reduta Studio of the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc, Sep. 2014 and Sep. 2011, studio of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Prague. Released: 2014. TT: 71:50. DDD. 1 CD LH Promotion 2257.


A leading Czech clarinettist, Karel Dohnal needs no introduction to music fans in his native country. Nevertheless, I deem it worth mentioning a few basic facts. Dohnal is above all a vigorous soloist, who has gained his renown by activities connected with distinguished Czech and foreign ensembles, as well as owing to his successful performances of new or not overly frequently played pieces for clarinet. One of his most distinct solo accomplishments is the phenomenal rendition of Stockhausen's Harlekin (and its numerous performances on Czech and foreign stages), which has earned him high critical acclaim. At the present time, Dohnal regularly appears with the orchestra of the State Opera, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the Philharmonia Octet and Amadeus Trio (the most noteworthy of his past experiences is his two-year tenure as first clarinet with the BBC Symphony Orchestra). All the works featured on the present CD were created around the middle of the 20th century, thus forming a logical, integrated programme entity. The first piece, Rudolf Kubin's three-movement Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, is performed flawlessly by both the soloist and the orchestra, with a dynamically structured second movement that immediately draws the listener into the mysterious, here and there sinister even, atmosphere. When listening to the second track, Jean Francaix's four-movement Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, two phenomena kept crossing my mind--playfulness and acrobatics. And my notion was presently provided with a specific platform. That which the attentive listener (and the poor interpreter) experiences is aptly characterised by the composer himself, as quoted in the booklet: "This concerto is amusing to listen to, or at least I hope it is. But playing it is another matter. It is an aerobatics display for the fingers with looping the loop, steep turns and sudden dives to terrify the soloist, who must have nerves of steel and thousands of hours' flying time under his belt. …

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