The Chicago Principal: First Chair Soloists Play Famous Concertos
Given the vaunted status of and incessant competitiveness among qualified musicians for the first section chairs of major symphony orchestras, perhaps it should not come as too much of a surprise that a first-chair soloist is often as skilled in transmitting concerto literature as a "star" recitalist. But producers of classical recordings have not often elected to showcase the talents of first-chair performers, certainly not to the extent that a listener would commonly encounter them in the concert hall. In the collection The Chicago Principal, Deutsche Grammophon has stepped in to redress the balance with a handsome two-disc set, including generous program notes, photos, and short biographies of the soloists featured. One name stands out as familiar outside the purview of the Chicago Symphony, that of French horn player Dale Clevenger, who is heard in three works here. This package also spotlights the talents of oboist Ray Still, trumpeter Adolph Herseth, bassoonist Willard Elliot, and tuba player Arnold Jacobs. All of the performances, recorded between 1976-1983, are outstanding, and this package will strongly appeal to wind and brass fanciers, even those who are not resident in Chicago.