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Koechlin: Music For Clarinet / Altmann, Konig, Et Al

Koechlin / Konig / Altmann / Henschel
Release Date: 08/01/2004 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 98446   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Dirk AltmannFlorian HenschelGunther TeuffelSybille Mahni,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

If there’s a composer more difficult to pigeonhole than Charles Koechlin (1867–1950), I don’t know who that composer might be. A late starter who compensated by being notably prolific in a wide range of genres beyond the age of 80, Koechlin was also protean in style. Conservatory woodwind professors are fond of him as a composer of sets of accessible miniatures that are useful as recital novelties; connoisseurs of 20th-century orchestral music know him, especially through the Kipling-inspired cycle Le livre de la jungle, as a radical and unique post-Impressionistic voice. In his informative if somewhat ingenuously written notes, clarinetist Altmann cites recent thinking according to which Koechlin is an important link between Debussy and Read more Messiaen, a perspective I find particularly insightful.

The present collection, incorporating most of the music for clarinet solo and with piano, naturally reflects the former musical persona more than the latter, although Koechlin the radical is often perceptible just beneath the surface. The two brief sonatas have a certain folklike quality, and are rich with Koechlin’s favored modal harmonies tinged with his unique form of chromaticism, also displaying the predilection for chords with open fifths that permeates much of his music. The clarinet-writing is not difficult except for an occasional, unexpected excursion into the altissimo register of the instrument.

The suite from Les confidences d’un joueur de clarinette (“The Confessions of a Clarinet Player”) is a set of vignettes intended for a film project that was never realized. (Koechlin was intensely interested in this new medium; as many readers will know, his Seven Stars’ Symphony has nothing to do with things cosmic, but rather portrays early Hollywood celebrities.) Many are for clarinet unaccompanied; since the protagonist’s friend is named Waldhorn, several other movements are for clarinet and horn. The music, accordingly, has a pastoral quality, and much of it is completely diatonic. The very brief Idylle and the op. 178 pieces are also rather harmonically and technically conservative, posing no great challenges for the clarinetist.

The musical high point of the disc comes with the Monodies, written in 1948; it is unfortunate that Altmann has given us only half of them. These unaccompanied pieces feature the widest range of expression and of musical language on this recital; all told, half of the Monodies are unmetered, and since harmony, not rhythm, was Koechlin’s greatest talent, some of the slower pieces can bog down rhythmically. But others, such as No. 3, “La mer aux bruits innombrables,” a tour-de-force involving rapid arpeggios in fourths, extensive use of the altissimo register, and other formidable technical challenges, are first-rate, uncompromising music clearly intended for masters of the instrument.

Fortunately, that is precisely what Altmann proves to be. Principal clarinet of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony since 1985, he is a former student of the superb Karl Leister, for decades virtually the only German clarinetist whose sound American clarinetists have widely admired; Altmann, who plays French Buffet clarinets—unusual, I believe, in Germany—has a dark, beautifully controlled tone that I think mavens on both sides of the Atlantic will find pleasing. He also has a monster technique, polishing off the handful of technically difficult pieces cleanly and accurately, and negotiating the high notes without showing any hint of intonation problems or sign of strain.

Virtually all of the music on this disc seems to be unavailable elsewhere, meaning it would be self-recommending even if it were not so well played. As it is, it is a must for clarinetists and for Koechlin fans.

FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano no 1, Op. 85 by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano), Gunther Teuffel (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; France 
Date of Recording: 03/11/1999 
Venue:  Kammermusikstudio SWR Stuttgart 
Length: 9 Minutes 6 Secs. 
2.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Romance de Kasper by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
3.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Aubade des vendanges by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Sybille Mahni (Horn),
Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 1 Minutes 57 Secs. 
4.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Le bouquet de fleurs des champs pour Margrédel by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 0 Minutes 52 Secs. 
5.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Pastorale by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano),
Sybille Mahni (Horn)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 0 Minutes 32 Secs. 
6.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Musique de Kasper et de Waldhuorn by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano),
Sybille Mahni (Horn)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 1 Minutes 5 Secs. 
7.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Marche familière (Ouverture du bal) by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano),
Sybille Mahni (Horn)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
8.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Valse rustique pour le bal à la fête d'Eckerswir by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano), Sybille Mahni (Horn),
Gunther Teuffel (Viola)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
9.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Rage de Kasper by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 1 Minutes 5 Secs. 
10.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Lamento by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Johanna Busch (Cello), Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Florian Henschel (Piano),
Dirk Altmann (Clarinet)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
11.
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette, Op. 141: Duo final du "Printemps qui revient" by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano),
Sybille Mahni (Horn)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 2 Minutes 9 Secs. 
12.
Sonata for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 86bis by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923/1946 
Date of Recording: 03/11/1999 
Venue:  Kammermusikstudio SWR Stuttgart 
Length: 8 Minutes 49 Secs. 
13.
Idylle for 2 Clarinets/Violins and Viola, Op. 155bis by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Rudolf Konig (Clarinet), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet),
Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
14.
Pieces (14) for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178 by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano), Gunther Teuffel (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 24 Minutes 30 Secs. 
15.
Monodies (11), Op. 216: La Faune by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1947-1948 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
16.
Monodies (11), Op. 216: Le Soir by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1947-1948 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
17.
Monodies (11), Op. 216: La Mer aux bruits innombrables by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1947-1948 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 1 Minutes 48 Secs. 
18.
Monodies (11), Op. 216: La Chasse d'Artémis by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Dirk Altmann (Clarinet), Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Florian Henschel (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1947-1948 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 1 Minutes 4 Secs. 
19.
Monodies (11), Op. 216: no 10, Le Repos de Tityre by Charles Koechlin
Performer:  Gunther Teuffel (Viola), Florian Henschel (Piano), Dirk Altmann (Clarinet)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1947-1948 
Venue:  SWR 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Clarinet Sonata No. 1, Op. 85: I. Allegro
Clarinet Sonata No. 1, Op. 85: II. Andante quasi adagio
Clarinet Sonata No. 1, Op. 85: III. Finale: Allegro moderato
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette (The Confessions of a Clarinet Player), Op. 141: I. Romance de Kasper
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette (The Confessions of a Clarinet Player), Op. 141: II. Aubade des vendanges
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette (The Confessions of a Clarinet Player), Op. 141: III. Le bouquet de fleurs des champs pour Magredel
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette (The Confessions of a Clarinet Player), Op. 141: IV. Pastorale
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette (The Confessions of a Clarinet Player), Op. 141: V. Musique de Kasper et de Waldhorn pendant le diner chez l'oncle St
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette (The Confessions of a Clarinet Player), Op. 141: VI. Marche familiere
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette (The Confessions of a Clarinet Player), Op. 141: VII. Valse rustique pour le bal a la fete d'Eckerswir
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette (The Confessions of a Clarinet Player), Op. 141: VIII. Rage de Kasper
Les confidences d'un joueur de clarinette (The Confessions of a Clarinet Player), Op. 141: IX. Lamento
Clarinet Sonata No. 2, Op. 86: I. Allegro ben moderato
Clarinet Sonata No. 2, Op. 86: II. Andante con moto
Clarinet Sonata No. 2, Op. 86: III. Allegro
Idylle for 2 Clarinets, Op. 155bis: Idyll for Two Clarinets, Op. 155bis
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: I. Andante con moto
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: II. Allegretto
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: III. Tranquillo
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: IV. Tempo de Sicilienne
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: V. Allegretto con moto
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: VI. Serein, bien allant
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: VII. Allegro con moto
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: VIII. Concentre, presque adagio, sans trainer cependant
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: IX. Allegretto con moto
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: X. Andante
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: XI. Allegro con moto
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: XII. Larghetto
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: XIII. Allegro vivo
14 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178: XIV. Allegretto
11 Monodies, Op. 216: I. Le Faune
11 Monodies, Op. 216: II. Le Soir
11 Monodies, Op. 216: III. La Mer aux bruits innombrables
11 Monodies, Op. 216: V. La Chasse d' Artemis
11 Monodies, Op. 216: X. Le Repos de Tityre

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