THE TRANSFIGURED NIGHTINGALE: Music for Clarinet and Piano (Jerome Summers & Robert Kortgaard)

THE TRANSFIGURED NIGHTINGALE: Music for Clarinet and Piano (Jerome Summers & Robert Kortgaard)


A distinguished fixture of the Canadian music scene, clarinetist/composer/conductorJerome Summers has been dazzling audiences with his remarkable versatility, finesse and brilliant musicianship for many years.  Summers is perpetually exploring new musical horizons, and his latest endeavour, an exciting new CD entitled The Transfigured Nightingale, is no exception.  

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Johannes Brahms
Sonata for clarinet and piano in E-flat Major, Op. 120, No.2
1. Allegro amabile
2. Appassionato, ma non troppo Allegro
3. Andante con moto, Allegro

Dmitri Shostakovich
Two Pieces for clarinet and piano (arr. A. Stark)
4. Adagio (from Symphony No 12)
5. Scherzo (from Symphony No. 9)

Michael Conway Baker
A Canticle for Ryan, Op. 127
6. Adagio – vivo – Adagio

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sonata in a minor, Op. 19 (transcribed for clarinet by Jerome Summers)
7. Lento – Allegro moderato – Allegro molto – Tempo I
8. Allegro scherzando – un poco meno mosso
9. Andante
10. Allegro mosso – Moderato – Vivace

Marek Norman
“Just Think” – A Romance for clarinet and piano
11. Tranguillo – tempo rubato


The theme of this collection is that of transfiguration, or transcription.  Summers presents works which began their lives in other forms.  Of particular interest is the inclusion of his own clarinet setting of the Sonata in g minor Op. 19 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, originally for cello and piano.  Companion pieces include A Canticle for Ryan op. 127 by Michael Conway Baker, originally for violin and piano; and Just Think by Marek Norman, an original song from the musical Wanderlust.  The Two Pieces for Clarinet and Piano arranged by A. Stark and are based on orchestral works of Dmitri Shostakovich. The Brahms Sonata, op. 120 no. 2 in Eb is the only music which was originally composed for clarinet, but belongs in this collection because of its "transfiguration" to a viola piece. With the exception of the Brahms Sonata, all of the presented recordings are world premieres for clarinet and piano.


Audiophile Audition
March 30, 2015
"Jerome Summers...has a very pleasant, rounded tone and supple technique and is very enjoyable to listen to.
...What I like most about this album is the new finds; the “rarities” that comprise the whole rest of the set. For example, the Stark arrangement of two melodies by Shostakovich makes for very dark, brooding listening in the extract from the SymphonyNo. 12 and the well-known spiky scherzo of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9. These are entertaining to be sure ...
A more interesting and more genuine “find” is the lovely, touching Canticle for Ryan by Canadian composer Michael Conway Baker (originally written for violin). This pretty little piece has some ‘film score’ tinges to it and I would have liked to know more about the title. One gets the feeling ‘Ryan’ meant something to Baker. I had a similar reaction to Just Think by Marek Norman. Norman is a stage composer and Summers apparently asked if the composer would set one of his songs from a production of “Wanderlust” for clarinet and piano. It is a charming and straight-forward work.
The other transcription here is the Rachmaninoff Sonata for cello and piano in g minor. Played here in Summers’ own transcription it works quite well and the original is such an idiomatic Rachmaninoff work, what’s not to like? I especially enjoyed Summers’ treatment of the lovely Andante...
I can envision Jerome Summers doing an album of music by all Canadian composers (including the amazing Jacques Hetu, perhaps) or even some of the great, but lesser known, English works like the sonatas of Bax, Bowen and Ireland.
In the meantime, it is always good to discover a good quality fellow clarinetist playing things a little off the beaten path. For me, I thought the Baker and Norman works were quite pleasant discoveries."

—Daniel Coombs