Three other great record­ings

BBC Music Magazine - - Building A Library -

Thea King (clar­inet)

This is a darker, more in­tro­verted take than many, but it has its own riches. The land­scape is less var­ied than in the Martin Fröst ver­sion: for­est shad­ows and haunted per­spec­tives pre­dom­i­nate, but it’s all beau­ti­fully judged. One is made par­tic­u­larly aware of long lines, and of their ex­quis­ite poly­phonic in­ter­weav­ing, yet there are plenty of telling ‘vo­cal’ touches too. Thea King and the

Gabrieli Quar­tet’s man­ner may be more re­strained, the ex­pres­sion sub­tler, but the pas­sion is there, and it leaves a last­ing im­pres­sion. (Hype­r­ion CDA 66107) Nash En­sem­ble In this 2006 record­ing, we hear a very dif­fer­ent ap­proach from that of Fröst and his team. This is the Ro­man­tic au­tum­nal mood at its most lux­u­ri­ous: ‘mists and mel­low fruit­ful­ness’, with a re­signed aware­ness of mor­tal­ity in the back­ground, con­trasts smoothed out, ex­pan­sive tem­pos and con­cen­tra­tion on long lines – the kind of thing

Fröst’s ver­sion sets its face at least partly against. The thing is, it’s also gor­geous, with the truly ‘live’ at­mos­phere of a mem­o­rable con­cert ex­pe­ri­ence. (WH LIVE 0007)

Regi­nald Kell (clar­inet) The Tes­ta­ment trans­fer of this

1937 record­ing is a rev­e­la­tion. With the orig­i­nal sur­face noise tamed, Kell’s fluid, sub­tle, touch­ingly con­fi­den­tial ap­proach, and the multi-lay­ered in­ter­ac­tions with the great Busch Quar­tet, en­gage the lis­tener as never be­fore. In many ways this is the true an­ces­tor of the Fröst team in­ter­pre­ta­tion, and it should be re­mem­bered that sev­eral of these mu­si­cians grew up hear­ing the kind of per­for­mances Brahms him­self would have ex­pe­ri­enced. Does that make this record­ing in any way more ‘au­then­tic’? What­ever the his­tor­i­cal case, it’s play­ing that speaks mov­ingly for it­self. (Tes­ta­ment SBT 1001)

And one to avoid…

A pedi­gree en­sem­ble and soloist in Karl Leis­ter and the Amadeus Quar­tet – how could this fail? The re­fine­ment and in­tel­li­gence of the play­ing aren’t in doubt, but it all seems rather grand, Olympian and de­tached, the ex­changes be­tween the play­ers well­man­nered but with lit­tle of the vi­tal­ity of the Fröst and Kell teams, and the Amadeus Quar­tet’s big, sus­tained vi­brato be­comes a bit samey. The style may un-date in time, as it has with Kell and the Busch, but un­til then this is strictly for fans only.

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