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Cat. No. CHAN 10739 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10739 - British Clarinet Concertos
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Available From: 01 October 2012
British Clarinet Concertos

This album marks the beginning of a new survey of British Clarinet Concertos, featuring the exclusive Chandos artist Michael Collins, who here combines the role of soloist with that of conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. 

Indisputably one of the leading clarinettists of his generation, Michael Collins displays a dazzling virtuosity and sensitive musicianship which have made him a sought-after soloist with orchestras including the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France and the Philadelphia, NHK Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, City of Birmingham Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, BBC Symphony, and Philharmonia orchestras.
In recent seasons he has won increasing regard as a conductor and in September 2010 assumed the post of Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia.
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford wrote extensively for the clarinet. His works include the Sonata, recorded by Michael Collins on CHAN 10704 (and very favourably reviewed in BBC Music, see below), and the Concerto recorded here, which, coincidentally, was the first for the instrument to be composed by a major British composer. This concerto boasts an exuberantly virtuosic solo part, accompanied by an orchestra excluding clarinets, but including a brass section of four horns and two trumpets.
The Clarinet Concerto by Finzi was performed by a young Michael Collins in the final of the first BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, in 1978. The work conjures a sense of fresh spontaneity, as it moves through baroque-inspired pastoralism, Elgarian influences, and lively folk-inspired melody.
The virtuosic Clarinet Concerto No. 2 by Sir Malcolm Arnold bears the dedication: ‘for Benny Goodman with admiration and love’. It had been commissioned three years earlier by the celebrated American jazz clarinettist, who had also established a reputation as a classical performer.


                     Critic’s Choice 2013
"...A stunning recording!"
 Jeremy Dibble - Gramophone magazine - December 2013

“...Collins and the BBC Symphony give energetic and committed performances, making the case that these concertos are first-rate orchestral works that deserve regular programming.  As usual Collins plays with great personality and amazing technique ... the BBC Symphony is excellent from beginning to end, rendering each selection with the authority and professionalism expected from all acclaimed ensembles.”
Patrick Hanudel – American Record Guide – March/April 2013 

                    ***** - Very Good
Rémy Franck – Pizzicato magazine – April 2013

“... These are all terrific performances.”
Jonathan Woolf – Fanfare – March/April 2013

"...Collin’s playing is compelling throughout, as is his conception of the larger one-movement span. The orchestral playing of the BBC SO is crisp and the clarity of the recording allows one to hear a lot more the harmonic colour and variety that is lost in some of the others... All three movements are highly characterful in their exploration of dance, ragtime and song, though the wiatful slow movement is most evocative."
Jeremy Dibble - Gramophone magazine - January 2013

              Recording of the Month
"This disc brings together - uniquely - three of the very finest British Clarinet Concertos in marvellous performances caught in sumptuous Chandos sound. It’s a triumph for all concerned especially Michael Collins who not only plays quite brilliantly but directs the BBC Symphony Orchestra in works which are far from straightforward accompanying exercises. The result sounds effortless - certainly as a result of some top-notch musicianship and collaborative music-making...As a rule I tend to prefer ‘one composer’ discs but this is as fine a compilation of concertos as you will hear. The Finzi is a great concerto regardless of instrument, the other two enrich the woodwind repertoire significantly and all three deserve to be in the collection of anyone interested in either wind or British music. Brought together in one place on a disc of such quality I suspect this will be judged as Collins’ finest recording to date and one of the finest concerto discs of the year."
Nick Barnard - MusicWeb-international.com - 19 November 2012

                  Performance *****        Recording *****
“This disc is certainly a superb showcase for Michael Collin’s talents, in British repertoire that may be less-than-familiar but still eminently worth hearing...”
Calum MacDonald – BBC Music magazine – Christmas 2012

“...The recorded sound is excellent, with particularly well-judged balance between soloist and orchestra... This is a most distinguished disc as well as an immensely enjoyable one and I recommend it warmly to anyone attracted by the programme.”
Nigel Simeone – International Record Review – November 2012


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