American Record Guide

Spanish clarinettist Cristo Barrios and American pianist Clinton Cormany team up for a series of song transcriptions spanning from baroque to Broadway. The liner notes go a long way toward explaining their project, even delving into the precedents in the art of arranging, and they include the words to all their selections. The history lesson is rather unnecessary; good music justifies itself.

In this vein, the transcriptions are well done, and Cormany’s playing mirrors his vast experience as a vocal accompanist. Barrios, a former student of Richard Stolzman, bears much of his teacher’s passionate musicianship, but there are timbral problems. His sound is a bit vague, and he has his greatest difficulties at full volume, where the sound tends to spread and the pitch tends to sink. Furthermore, over the course of the program, one cannot help but fell that the playing is more instrumental than vocal, which it shouldn’t be in this kind of endeavour.