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Jenner: Chamber Music / Litschgi, Helble, Krasnovska

Release Date: 11/22/2005 
Label:  Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog #: 6031343   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gustav Jenner
Performer:  Iryna KrasnovskaMartin LitschgiNadja Helble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 50 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gustav Jenner?s (1865?1920) chief claim to fame is that he was the only ?official? composition student of Brahms. The Master?s influence is immediately and continuously unmistakable in both of these compositions, written between 1898 and 1900: at the opening of the Sonata, for instance, the use of compound meter, the interplay of clarinet and piano, the parallel sixths and thirds in the piano are all part and parcel of Brahms?s musical language; and, the C-Minor third movement (Presto) of the Trio is strikingly reminiscent of the Finale of Brahms?s C-Minor Trio.

To focus just on the influence of Brahms, however, is to sell Jenner Read more short. This is very fine music in its own right, melodious, flowing, well written for the instruments (particularly the lower register of the clarinet), and harmonically attractive.

Given the utter lack of Romantic repertoire for the clarinet?there is a trio for this same combination by Carl Reinecke, and I recall its being so boring that in my orchestra days my hornist friend and I couldn?t bring ourselves to play it?it is all the more puzzling that these works are almost completely unknown. This is my first encounter with Jenner?s music, although a little digging turned up the existence of three other recordings of each piece: of the Trio, a Crystal recording was reviewed by Patrick Meanor in 27:6, another version is included in a cpo set advertised as the ?Complete Chamber Works,? but not including any of the sonatas (999 699), and a third is available on the CBC label; the Sonata is currently listed as available on two European labels not distributed in the US, and my 1995 Bielefelder catalog also lists a version by Rolf Weber on the Ambitus label, now long out of print.

All of the playing on the present disc is first-rate; clarinetist Litschgi is Swiss (from Basel), and while his playing is definitely of the Germanic school, his sound is pleasantly dark, lacking completely the harsh ?edge? that characterizes much German clarinet-playing. MDG?s sound is superb. My single gripe: any company that issues a full-priced CD running under 50 minutes ought to have a very good reason; since Jenner wrote a number of sonatas for other instruments, and various other chamber works, a third piece approximately equal in length to the present two would easily have fit as well.

Still, this disc was a pleasant surprise, and will definitely find a permanent place in my collection.

FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

Trio for Clarinet, Horn and Piano in E flat major by Gustav Jenner
Performer:  Iryna Krasnovska (Piano), Martin Litschgi (Clarinet), Nadja Helble (French Horn)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1900; Germany 
Venue:  Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen 
Length: 25 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen (09/20/2004 - 09/22/2004) 
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in G major, Op. 5 by Gustav Jenner
Performer:  Martin Litschgi (Clarinet), Iryna Krasnovska (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1899 
Venue:  Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen 
Length: 24 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen (09/20/2004 - 09/22/2004) 

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