Twins on Winds

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, 12:00am

Twins on Winds

City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong

City Hall Concert Hall

Reviewed: Apr 3

Israelis Daniel and Alexander Gurfinkel are 15-year-old identical brothers who play the clarinet - the twins of the concert title.

Already accomplished players, the brothers (right) might consider leaving the audience wanting more: their encores smacked of routine add-ons, too similar in style to their contributions in the main programme. Fixing their eyes constantly on the music also made it difficult to establish an engaging platform presence. That apart, it was difficult to find anything but admiration for their thoroughly stylish and imaginative playing.

Mendelssohn's Concert Piece No 1 for two clarinets was performed with superb tone quality, evenly blended throughout their instrument's range and with a synchronised manipulation of the notes that was uncannily precise. In Michael Dulizky's Carmen Fantasia for two clarinets, the changes in tempo, dynamics and intensity were perfectly executed. It's rare to hear one clarinet played with consistently faultless intonation, let alone two.

With only 20 string players, conductor Lior Shambadal had to find the right speed to support the Adagietto from Mahler's Symphony No5. It worked surprisingly well, but the steely edge to the violin sound occasionally grated in this context.

Shambadal's conducting style was over-demonstrative for the size of the ensemble. Broad sweeps don't get the best out of Mendelssohn's String Symphony No 2.