Review of 5th Spanish Clarinet Congress / 1st ECA International Clarinet Competition
By Nicholas Cox
Madrid, December 2011
Follow that Nuno Pinto! I have never felt such programme apprehension as I have for Nuno, playing 3 works for unaccompanied clarinet by three Portuguese compatriots: Ricardo Ribeiro’s Intensités (2001 rev 2006), Clotilde Rosa’s Divertimento (1987) and Alexandre Delgado’s Langará (1992). Any worries I may have had were immediately dispelled. In the opening phrase, he showed more commitment, musical communication, a larger dynamic range and a richer sound than anything that Julian Bliss had managed in his whole recital. And it wasn’t just the relief of hearing something other than Debussy and Poulenc. I can’t understand how I have completely missed this great piece by a composer that Pinto has known since his study days in Paris. No empty pyrotechnics this, for Intensités is indeed a great piece, the composer leading the listener and performer through its jagged peaks and steepling troughs. Nuno Pinto was equal to all of its demands, his playing of the greatest distinction and accuracy: a full colourful sound, the musical material projected with real commitment, the technical demands dispatched with the right kind of ease. Brilliant! Clotilde Rosa’s pretty piece is one of the first Portuguese pieces to use extended techniques. Here Nuno Pinto performed the multiphonics, partials, glissandi, squawks and real harmonics with such consummate skill, I can’t think of anyone matching this perfection, except perhaps Eric Mandat. Earlier in the day the audience had been treated to another performance of Delgado’s Langará by a young Spanish player. Apparently this performance was not a patch on Pinto’s. The title means ‘conversation’ and develops in dialogue form some of the phonetic and accentual traits of the Portuguese language. Another fine and well chosen work played by a clarinettist we should be hearing a great deal more from. He is peculiarly gifted at holding the audience spell-bound while delivering the music’s intricate thematic gestures and meaning with complete mastery. Bravo Nuno – exceptional.
Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine
UK Volume 37 No.1