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Mendelssohn, Rossini, Bruch / Peterkova, Baldeyrou, Et Al


Release Date: 01/29/2002 
Label:  Supraphon   Catalog #: 3554   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Felix MendelssohnMax BruchGioachino Rossini
Performer:  Nicolas BaldeyrouLudmila PeterkováAlexander Besa
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Peterková excels in a zesty clarinet recital.

On this showing Ludmila Peterková is the Czech answer to Germany’s Sabine Meyer‚ a characterful clarinettist‚ brilliant technically‚ with a wide range of tone­colours‚ who sparkles in everything she plays and brings a romantic warmth to such a work as the Bruch Double Concerto. She is consistently helped by the strong‚ sympathetic accompaniment of Ji·í Belohlávek and the Prague Philharmonia‚ here bidding to rival the Czech Philharmonic. As previous recordings of the Double Concerto have demonstrated – including one with the viola­player‚ Yuri Bashmet‚ in the alternative version with violin instead of clarinet (RCA‚ 3/99) – it has
Read more been seriously underappreciated since it was written just before the First World War. It was initially dismissed as being hopelessly out­of­date‚ a work in the high­Romantic style of 50 years earlier written in the period of Pierrot Lunaire and The Rite of Spring. Any anachronism of style no longer matters at all‚ and the wonder is that a composer in his mid­seventies could write such uninhibitedly passionate music. Nor‚ in a performance like this‚ is its unusual structure the shortcoming that some have suggested – including the writer of the liner­note. As in other concertos by Bruch‚ the opening movement is measured‚ a lyrical Andante leading to another lyrical movement which strikes the ear as slower than the mark­ing Allegro moderato might suggest. Only in the finale‚ Allegro molto‚ is the music both brisk and brilliant‚ but then you might say much the same of the ever­popular G minor Violin Concerto. Peterková is joined by another brilliant Czech artist‚ the prize­winning viola­player‚ Alexander Besa‚ rich‚ firm and true‚ and the impact of the performance is heightened by the warm‚ immediate recording. The two Mendelssohn Concert Pieces‚ each in three linked movements like a miniature concerto‚ are alleged to have been written as a challenge at high speed in the time it took the original performers‚ the clarinettist­composer‚ Heinrich Baermann and his bassett­horn­ playing son‚ Carl‚ to prepare and cook a cream strudel‚ their speciality as amateur chefs. Mendelssohn later orchestrated the original piano parts‚ and it is sad that such delightful pieces should be neglected for not fitting easily into concert programmes. The interplay between Peterková and her accomplished partner‚ Nicolas Baldeyrou‚ on the bassett horn is a delight throughout‚ with the instruments blending as well as contrasting. Peterková’s pointing of rhythm with dotted notes exaggerated just enough to give a lift to the music‚ is masterly both in the two Mendelssohn pieces and in the two sets of Rossini variations‚ both of them very early works‚ written when he was in his teens‚ limbering up for his operatic career. This is fun music‚ a point clearly brought out by Peterková‚ with technical problems shrugged aside. In the mazurka passage of the Rossini Variations in C (track 6‚ 1'52") she points the rhythm so charmingly it almost makes you laugh out loud. The recording of the whole programme‚ made in Prague’s Demovina Studio‚ is immediate and detailed‚ giving plenty of body without any dryness.

-- Gramophone 4/2002

Mendelssohn's two Concert Pieces for clarinet and basset horn (1832) form the outer flanks of this delightful collection. The energetic D minor bounces along busily with clarinet and basset horn joining, splitting, and interweaving in some novel and ear-catching ways. The F minor sports a longer, more somber introduction as well as more recognizably Mendelssohnian harmonic contours. Listening to this combination of instruments is essentially like hearing a well-matched yet highly differentiated soprano and mezzo duo, which is pretty much how Ludmila Peterkova and Nicolas Baldeyrou play these pieces (especially the more lyrical F minor).


Although Rossini's Introduction, Theme, and Variations (1810) and Variation in C major (1809) predate his tremendously successful opera career, there's plenty that's recognizable from his "mature" style, especially in the florid "coloratura" solo writing, which Peterkova tosses off with smiling bravura. Max Bruch's far more restrained Concerto for Clarinet, Viola, and Orchestra (1913) forms the weighty centerpiece of the program. It's a finely wrought, modestly proportioned 19th century concerto that just happens to have been written at the same time as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (that's Bruch for you). No matter, Peterkova's lush tone and Alexander Besa's delicate touch make this music a delightfully calming experience, one that's greatly enhanced by the enchanting atmosphere cultivated by Belohlavek and the musicians of the Prague Philharmonia. Supraphon's warm, naturally resonant, clearly detailed recording completes the package.
--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concert Piece for Clarinet, Basset Horn and Piano no 1 in F major, Op. 113 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Nicolas Baldeyrou (Basset-horn), Ludmila Peterková (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833; Germany 
2.
Concert Piece for Clarinet, Basset Horn and Piano no 2 in D minor, Op. 114 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Nicolas Baldeyrou (Basset-horn), Ludmila Peterková (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833; Germany 
3.
Concerto for Clarinet and Viola in E minor, Op. 88 by Max Bruch
Performer:  Ludmila Peterková (Clarinet), Alexander Besa (Viola)
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Germany 
4.
Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra in C major by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Ludmila Peterková (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1809; Italy 

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