David Shifrin’s reputation as one of the world’s great clarinetists (“If there is a bel canto school of clarinet playing, Shifrin is surely its finest exponent,” Los Angeles Times) continues to grow, even as it is challenged by Shifrin’s abilities as a Music Director. For years Shifrin has been the force behind Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon, where the star players from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center go to play chamber music in the summer. Chamber Music Northwest’s latest album carries out Shifrin’s ideal of presenting refreshing concert and recording programs, with virtuoso performers who can blend their ideas and their sound. The lovely Rhapsodies by French/American composer Charles Martin Loeffler -atmospheric pieces entitled “The Pool” and “The Bagpipe”-may be the biggest surprise on this rewarding album. Nielsen’s delightful Quintet for Winds has much appeal in this polished performance, and for those who will cherish a truly outstanding recording of the Prokofiev Quintet, these virtuosi give it their all.

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon, Op. 43
Ransom Wilson, flute – Allan Vogel, oboe – David Shifrin, clarinet – David Jolley, horn – Julie Feves, bassoon

CHARLES MARTIN LOEFFLER (1861-1935): Two Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola and Piano
Allan Vogel, oboe – Paul Neubauer, viola – Irma Vallecillo, piano

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Double Bass, Op. 39
Allan Vogel, oboe – David Shifrin, clarinet – Pamela Frank, violin – Steven Tenenbom, viola – Edgar Meyer, bass