The Princess and the Bear

BBC Music Magazine - - Chamber -

R Strauss: Duet-con­certino, TRV293*; Beethoven: Trio in

E flat, Op. 38; Glinka: Trio

Pathé­tique in D mi­nor

Sarah Watts (clar­inet), Lau­rence Perkins (bas­soon), Martin Roscoe (pi­ano); *Royal Scot­tish Na­tional Orches­tra/sian Ed­wards

Hype­r­ion CDA68263 76:14 mins Bas­soon­ist Lau­rence Perkins rather over­states the case when he writes in the book­let note that Strauss’s Duet-con­certino

‘has been se­ri­ously ne­glected and un­der-rep­re­sented over the years’. There are a num­ber of first-rate record­ings; and as for the ‘Princess and the Bear’ programme, it may help to know about it, but the work is not in form or the­matic charm sub­stan­tially dif­fer­ent from the Oboe Con­certo of the same ‘In­dian sum­mer’ (I would call it the se­cond spring of the oc­to­ge­nar­ian Strauss).

Graphic sto­ry­telling did trans­form my view of the piece when I heard Matt ★unt and

Martin Ku­uskmann char­ac­terise the Duet-con­certino along­side other play­ers of Paavo Järvi’s Es­to­nian (then Pärnu) Fes­ti­val Orches­tra. It em­phat­i­cally does not come from this part­ner­ship with Sian Ed­wards and the Royal Scot­tish Na­tional Orches­tra. There’s no need to treat the open­ing Al­le­gro mod­er­ato as an Ada­gio, though Perkins and clar­inet­tist Sarah Watts float their longer lines very finely, and the Rondo can seem rather over-ex­tended when it’s not filled with danc­ing de­light.

Things liven up con­sid­er­ably with the more twin­kling sup­port of pi­anist Martin Roscoe. Beethoven’s 1805 adap­ta­tion of the wind

Septet re­lies on the buoy­ancy of the three play­ers, and al­though it’s lit­tle more than a light ser­e­nade, the min­uet springs to life and there’s fine in­ter­play in the Theme and Vari­a­tions.

Glinka’s so-called Trio Pathé­tique is hardly more heavy­weight, de­spite its ti­tle; the scherzo scin­til­lates with pi­anis­tic elab­o­ra­tions and the slow move­ment gives op­er­atic decla­ma­tions to the two wind play­ers (very high writ­ing for the clar­inet). David Nice PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★


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