The Art of Peter Clinch
Peter Clinch (saxophones)
Music by William Lovelock,
Geoffrey D’Ombrain and
reviewed by Neville Cohn
For those many concertgoers who heard Peter Clinch at his peak, this compilation will be a welcome reminder of his artistry – and it will enable a new generation of listeners to make the acquaintance of a first rate musician. William Lovelock, whose years as founding director of the Queensland Conservatorium are remembered for his unwaveringly conservative approach to music and a gift for looking backwards in both harmonic and stylistic terms, may not have won him many allies. But his not inconsiderable output has provided saxophonists – as well as tuba players – with a small repertoire of works that have immediacy and tunefulness in abundance.
Clinch is at his beguiling best in Lovelock’s Sonata for saxophone and piano, the opening adagio coming across like a gently unfolding, intensely felt, song. And the central movement is a wild ride that seizes the attention. Trevor Barnard is the perfect piano partner although recorded sound is rather tinny.
There’s more Lovelock in the form of his Three Sketches with Nehama Patkin at the piano. The Prelude is a lavish obeisance to Schumann, the Valsette a charming, salon-type vignette and the Scherzo a fine vehicle for Clinch to demonstrate his extraordinary control of the instrument; this is splendidly lively playing with some beautifully gauged rubati. Throughout the work, Clinch’s consistently fine tone flies in the face of Wagner’s sour dismissal of the instrument which, he once said, ‘sounds like the word Reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge’!
In Introspections for Saxophone and Prepared Tape – a joint effort by Geoffrey D’Ombrain and Clinch – twitterings and electronically generated otherworldly glissandi call to mind background music for movies about intergalactic strife. Listen to Clinch’s flawlessly phrased line to a pre-recorded tape. Here, as in everything he played, Clinch brings the Midas touch, turning even this rather dated offering to musical gold.
There’s more sax magic from Clinch in Eric Gross’ Quintet for Alto Saxophone and String Quartet. The central lento movement is pure delight, the saxophone line a stream of pure, unforced sound that blends exquisitely with the corporate tone of the Petra String Quartet.
This compact disc is a compendium of saxophone marvels and a remarkable testament to the artistry of one of the instrument’s most persuasive interpreters.
Copyright 2006 Neville Cohn