Austrian clarinetist Andreas Ottensamer joins forces with Chinese pianist Yuja Wang to record an album of works by composers of the Romantic era. Blue Hour features some of the jewels of the Romantic-era repertoire including Brahms’s Intermezzo in A major, Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words – arranged for clarinet and piano by Ottensamer – and Weber’s virtuosic Grand Duo concertant. The album reveals Ottensamer to be not just a sensitive and responsive chamber partner, but also a brilliant soloist, as he gives a dazzling performance of Weber’s First Clarinet Concerto, recorded with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Mariss Jansons.
Perhaps the thrust of this new release should be theRead more clarinet as human voice. The second movement of Weber’s concerto certainly has the quality of an operatic aria here, Ottensamer pouring liquid gold into the bel canto phrases. The Mendelssohn and Brahms numbers (all but one in arrangements by Ottensamer himself) make for pleasant listening.
On paper, this looks bitty: Weber’s First Concerto and the Grand Duo Concertant between arrangements of Brahms and Mendelssohn. But Ottensamer is clarinet aristocracy, and his rapport with Wang and his own orchestra, Jansons at the helm, is complete.