“[The Bernstein Sonata] calls for amazing virtuosity on the part of the clarinettist which thankfully causes no problems whatsoever for Jonathan Cohler…Jonathan Cohler and Rasa Vitkauskaite work so well together they almost sound joined at the musical hip. Each is a master of his and her chosen instrument. The sound is crystal clear and perfectly balanced and the booklet notes are copious and extremely informative…the whole package…is first class”
—MusicWeb International, Steve Arloff
“supple sound and formidable technique…Cohler displays a complete command of his instrument and of the various musical languages called for here…he plays with a real sense of style, whether in the klezmer licks of the Sargon and Wilson or the jazzy ones of the Bernstein and D’Rivera. Few classical artists are as much at home in all these musical worlds, but Cohler seems to revel in them.
Production, as usual for Ongaku, is exemplary: the booklet essays by the performers are highly informative, and the recorded sound is ideal. This is one of the best clarinet CDs to come along in some time. Highly recommended!”
—Fanfare, Richard A. Kaplan
“Cohler and Vitkauskaite are a superb pairing. This album is replete with interpretive moments that are beautifully rendered in uncanny lockstep.”
—The Clarinet, Osiris Molina
“astounding!…Jonathan Cohler brings to the music the most unusual combination of dramatic power, dazzling virtuosity and exquisite intimacy. And Rasa Vitkauskaite is the perfect partner to tie together all of these elements into a meaningful whole. I cannot imagine a more thoughtful rendering of Liquid Ebony.”
“Jonathan Cohler and pianist Rasa Vitkauskaite do a remarkable rendition of my pieces as well as the ones by the other distinguished American composers on the project. This is a CD every clarinetist should have in their collection!
Jonathan Cohler is one of my favorite clarinetists on the contemporary scene. So much so that when a few years ago I was asked to play the complicated clarinet part of Oliver Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, I not only used Jonathan’s great recording of the famous work as a reference, but also paid Jonathan a visit for personal advice.”
“A master magician of the clarinet, drawing an amazing range of sounds from his instrument. His sensitivity of line and phrase is only matched by his consummate technical mastery.”
“Jonathan Cohler carries off this solid program with infectious charm, beautifully focused tone, and delightful agility. Rasa Vitkauskaite, a native of Lithuania, balances Cohler’s brilliant voice with a certain gravitas and polished technique; this is a very good team. The recorded sound is especially notable, with excellent perspective and sense of depth. This is a highly rewarding hour plus of music-making, to which I will certainly return long after reviewing duties are done.”
“Cohler is a supreme advocate. His chocolaty legato, pure tone, and the way he drags the listener in to Bernstein’s whispered intimacies in the second movement are all highly impressive; the fast final section is given with wonderful abandon…Cohler’s tone is delicious at whichever velocity…Cohler and Vitkauskaite even manage to transcend the boundaries of studio recording to imbue the piece [Sargon KlezMuzik] with a sense of spontaneity, fun, and even on occasion, pure cheek. It is easy to miss the virtuosity on display, the sheer mastery of instrument…one can only marvel at Cohler’s silken evenness of delivery…Recording and presentation standards are of the very highest. Recommended, and not just to clarinetists.”
“D’Rivera…indeed made it quite difficult for the clarinet, but Mr. Cohler blazed through in a virtuosic display of technical fireworks, and made it appear effortless.”