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Krommer and Spohr: Clarinet Concertos.

Krommer and Spohr: Clarinet Concertos. Sabine Meyer and Julian Bliss, clarinets; Kenneth Sillito, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. EMI Classics 0946 3 79786 2 7.

Things begin in the lightest possible mood with Franz Krommer's Concerto for Two Clarinets (1815). The opening movement is as frothy as it could be, the two young clarinetists, Sabine Meyer and Julian Bliss, appearing to have a good time in the give-and-take communication of their instruments. The second movement Adagio, however, seems to belong to a different work altogether, Don Giovanni perhaps, heavy and ponderous. But things lighten up again in the Finale.

Then we move on to the most serious piece on the disc, Louis Spohr's Clarinet Concerto No. 4, with Ms. Meyer as soloist. Slightly gloomy yet elevated, not only is its mood serious but the orchestration is the most weighty of the three works in the collection, too, especially compared to the Krommer piece. Then things conclude with the music that strikes me as having the best balance between earnestness and lightheartedness, Spohr's Clarinet Concerto No. 2, lively and melodic.

EMI's sound is lovely as well, not in the top echelon of recordings in terms of detail or transparency, perhaps, but radiating a sweet ambient bloom. The orchestra is well spread across the sound stage, the soloists are nicely centered when necessary, and the imaging conveys a realistic sense of depth and presence. It's all a most pleasant experience.
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Author:Puccio, John
Publication:Sensible Sound
Article Type:Sound recording review
Date:Apr 1, 2008
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