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Cat. No. CHAN 10702 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10702 - Weber: Concertante Works for Clarinet and Horn
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Available From: 15 December 2011

Weber: Clarinet Concertos 1 & 2, etc. – Michael Collins, City of London Sinfonia

On this disc, the exclusive Chandos artist, Michael Collins, plays the clarinet in three works for clarinet and orchestra by Weber, as well as conducting the City of London Sinfonia. The disc also includes Weber’s horn concertino, featuring the soloist Stephen Stirling.

The two concertos and the concertino for clarinet and orchestra are considered among the repertoire cornerstones for today’s clarinettists. Weber wrote the works for his personal friend Heinrich Bärmann, the principal clarinettist of the Munich court orchestra, whose own embellishments of the works (changes of articulation, extra grace notes, and even an added accompanied cadenza in the first concerto) have been incorporated in the performances recorded here. Michael Collins suggests that these changes ‘do not make the music any easier to play, but they do make it more thrilling’.

Each of the works displays a well-balanced mix of virtuosity, daring, humour, and sheer beauty, and throughout, the role of the orchestra is much more than a mere accompaniment. The woodwind solos, a trio of horns, blaring trumpets, and dashing violins contribute greatly to making these works so captivating.

Written in 1806, when Weber was just nineteen years old, the virtuosic Horn Concertino pushed known horn techniques to new limits, requiring the soloist among other feats to produce a ‘four-note chord’, the technique known as multiphonics. The work is today considered a gem in the horn repertoire, and our soloist, Stephen Stirling, is ‘a player gifted with the utmost sensitivity and imagination, which is shown through the beautiful way he shapes musical phrases and the extraordinary range of colours he employs’ – in the words of the late Richard Hickox.

Reviews

                      Critics’ Choice 2012
 "... It’s a disc that can’t help but put a spring in your step."
Jeremy Nicholas - Gramophone magazine - Christmas special edition - December 2012

"...These are impressive performances. The sound quality is most impressive. Excellent booklet notes by Michael Collins cap a fine release."
 
Michael Cookson - musicweb-international.com - 10 April 2012

                    ***/*****
Roberto Zechini - Musica magazine - March 2012

“...It is hardly self-evident that a new release of these familiar works will find something new to say – but Collins and his team have done so, in a release well worth considering ...”
Carl Rosman – International Record Review – February 2012
 

         Performance  *****     Recording *****
"Weber’s clarinet pieces, virtually all of them written for the virtuoso Heinrich Bärmann, call not only for technical proficiency, but also extreme refinement of tone throughout the instrument’s range ... Michael Collins, acting as both soloist and conductor, offers dazzling performances ... Strongly recommended.”
Misha Donat – BBC Music magazine – March 2012

“...they [sonatas] make pleasant listening in Collin’s hands – with his brilliance, subtlety and range of colour, an ideal advocate. Stirling makes the most of the early Horn Concertino.”
David Cairns – The Sunday Times  - 5 February 2012

“...Collins directs the orchestra as well as dispatching the solo parts with wit and aplomb ...”
Andrew Clements – The Guardian – 26 January 2012

 

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