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.