Mozart • We­ber

BBC Music Magazine - - Chamber Reviews -

Clar­inet Quin­tets

Ju­lian Bliss (clar­inet);

Car­ducci Quar­tet

Signum Records SIGCD 552 58:53 mins In­spired by his friend­ship with clar­inet­tist An­ton Stadler, Mozart not only in­vented the genre of clar­inet quin­tet but re­solved at a stroke the prob­lems of in­te­grat­ing the clar­inet line into the string tex­ture to an ex­tent un­matched un­til Brahms’s great work of a cen­tury later. In­ter­ven­ing quin­tets by such com­posers as We­ber and Spohr tended to re­sort to a sim­pler, more con­cer­tante con­cept, with strings mainly de­ployed as ac­com­pa­ni­ment to the clar­inet.

So Ju­lian Bliss sounds well to the fore in the We­ber Clar­inet Quin­tet in B flat. Com­pleted in

1815 for the clar­inet vir­tu­oso ★ein­rich Baer­mann, this is a ge­nial, tune­ful work mak­ing no great claims to depth, though its cre­pus­cu­lar slow move­ment is a gem of early Ro­man­ti­cism. Rid­ing the Car­ducci Quar­tet’s neatly ar­tic­u­lated or sen­si­tively sus­tained ac­com­pa­ni­ments, Bliss tack­les the score with a pierc­ingly pure, vi­bra­to­less tone, suit­ably veiled for the Ada­gio, yet ris­ing ef­fort­lessly to the vir­tu­oso cart­wheels near the end of the fi­nale. Such tim­bral fo­cus places a pre­mium on pre­cise in­to­na­tion, and just oc­ca­sion­ally Bliss ap­pears to play slightly ‘un­der the note’.

But there is no hint of this in the Mozart Quin­tet. ★ere he de­ploys the so-called bas­set clar­inet that Stadler favoured, with an ex­tra four bot­tom notes – and won­der­fully cav­ernous they sound. Yet the whole read­ing has a pleas­ing im­pulse, bal­ance and bloom, while the serene beauty these play­ers find in the last bars of the Larghetto amounts to a mys­tery. Bayan North­cott

PER­FOR­MANCE

RECORD­ING

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.