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Clarinet Concertos / Sabine Meyer

Meyer,Sabine
Release Date: 10/09/2012 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 73572   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartCarl StamitzJohann Wenzel StamitzFranz Krommer,   ... 
Performer:  Sabine MeyerSergio AzzoliniBruno SchneiderDiethelm Jonas,   ... 
Conductor:  Hans VonkIona BrownJörg FaerberHerbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden StaatskapelleAcademy of St. Martin in the FieldsWürttemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
Number of Discs: 5 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

Stamitz:

Mozart heard clarinets at the Elector Carl Theodor's Mannheim, and longed for them to include in his own symphonies in Salzburg. They add richness to many a symphony composed for the famous orchestra, and (even if Sabine Meyer plays a modern clarinet) these concertos indicate the kind of music that was being written for the instrument. There is none of Mozart's romantic richness here, not even in the slow movements (though the Rornanze of Carl Stamitz's No. 3 is in the manner of Don Ottavio's mio tesoro"); but the elegance, grace and courtesy of the music make easy listening.

Johann Stamitz (1717-57) still
Read more has one foot in the baroque. In his opening movement, after the striding bass, dotted rhythms and other baroque traits, the entry of clarinet tone does indeed, as Markus Schwering's judicious sleeve-note points out, sound surprising. Carl (1746-1801) wrote some dozen clarinet concertos: the three here recorded are amiable works cast in a similar mould—rather simple sonata-style first movement, expressive Romanze or Aria, and nimble Rondo. It is in the slow movements that the most expressive music is found, not surprisingly, with eloquent melodies intended to touch the affections. Mozart was piously disdainful when writing to his father of the behaviour of the Stamitz brothers, as of the clarinettist Joseph Beer who had a hand in some of Carl's works, but they gave him some ideas. And in their own right, played here with a lively appreciation of their worth and of their limits, these concertos can give much pleasure.

-- Gramophone [11/1993]

Mozart:

"The Mozart disc under review features Sabine Meyer and Hans Vonk...I can confidently state that their performances of the Clarinet Concerto and Sinfonia Concertante are among the best versions on record and fully deserving of the exalted status given by the folks at EMI.

Mozart composed his Clarinet Concerto just a few months before his death while he was also working on his Requiem. The Concerto was written for his good friend, the clarinettist Anton Stadler, and displays Mozart at the peak of his creative powers. The concise architecture, exceptional interaction between solo instrument and orchestra, and an abundance of inspired themes seem to wing their way to the listener on a non-stop basis. The work is considered Mozart’s finest wind concerto, and I’ll take it further and declare it the best wind concerto in the entire world of classical music.

In addition to the traits mentioned above, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto has such great majesty and warmth from within that it melts one’s heart and offers a comfort uncommon in other musical works. For many years, my standard for the Clarinet Concerto has been the early 1970s Karl Böhm recording featuring Alfred Prinz and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Böhm uses slowish tempos that allow listeners to savor Mozart’s music. The majesty and warmth his performing forces exude are absolutely sublime. If a quicker version is preferred, one need look no further than to the Philips recording conducted by Sir Colin Davis and featuring Jack Brymer on clarinet. This version isn’t as comforting as the Böhm, but it does highlight the excitement of the outer movements.

Hans Vonk paces his performance in a manner similar to Davis, and both offer full-bodied interpretations. Any substantial difference is due to Sabine Meyer’s playing a basset clarinet, which is the instrument that Mozart conceived for the work. Darker and rounder in tone than a modern clarinet, Meyer executes her role splendidly in bringing out both the exuberance and poignancy of the music. Although the Böhm version remains my favorite, Meyer and Vonk fully match the Davis recording.

A look at the history of the Sinfonia Concertante tells us once again that movies may be magic, but they aren’t necessarily accurate with the facts. In the Academy Award winning movie "Amadeus", Mozart humiliates the Italian composer Salieri in front of the Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by indulging himself in variations on a simple theme wrote by Salieri to greet Mozart. In real life, Mozart humiliated the ‘King’ of the Parisian Sinfonia, Giuseppe Maria Cambini, by inserting his own musical ideas into a Cambini quartet in court performance. Although Cambini publicly praised Mozart’s input, he did everything he could in private to make Mozart’s residence in Paris an unpleasant one. When Mozart departed France, he left behind the score to the Sinfonia Concertante and it disappeared. Years later it re-emerged with authorship unclear.

Personally, I find it hard to not consider the work Mozart’s, because it carries a host of his trademarks such as balance of architecture, exquisitely flowing lines, concise musical arguments, and a wealth of melodic invention. Further, the exceptional highlighting and interaction of the solo instruments in the 3rd Movement Andantino con variazioni, if not from the pen of Mozart, would have to be from his clone.

Sabine Meyer and Company again offer superb performances totally up to the standards of the lovingly warm Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the clean and exciting version from Warren-Green. Each of the three recordings conveys the rhythmic energy and bounce of the outer movements and the elegance and charm of the Adagio. The EMI soundstage is perfectly balanced with ample richness and depth."

-- Don Satz, MusicWeb International

Krommer, Rossini:

Michael Stegemann, in his note, makes a claim for Krommer being in his clarinet works more than "a prolific producer of pleasant, undemanding music" (ein gef/illiger Vielschreiber). Highly enjoyable as these pieces are, it is a claim difficult to sustain, and perhaps a misleading one. Concertos for two clarinets are an unlikely idea, and Krommer does very entertainingly with it; there is the expected reliance on passages in thirds and sixths, and on witty or (slow movements) tender imitation. But to expect more, or to suggest more, seems to me to ask for more than the music really intends. What we have is delightful. The invention is fresh, the harmony simple and effective, the orchestration clear, expert and graceful. Both works make highly agreeable listening, and the fact that they really demand so little of the listener is part of their charm. The siblings Meyer understand this very well, and produce playing that is fresh and witty, also beautifully unanimous yet contrasted. One cannot imagine it being better done; whereas more profound works would offer a whole range of interpretations for the interested player.

Wolfgang Meyer fires off the pyrotechnics of Rossini's C major Variations coruscatingly, leaving sister Sabine to deal with the rather more extended and ambitious Introduction, Theme and Variations. There seems little to separate the two players in skill and virtuosity. Both performances are great fun. The recording is bright and warm.

-- Gramophone [7/1989]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Clarinet in A major, K 622 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Basset Clarinet)
Conductor:  Hans Vonk
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Lukas Church, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 26 Minutes 45 Secs. 
2.
Sinfonia concertante for Winds in E flat major, K 297b (K Anh 9) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Sergio Azzolini (Bassoon), Bruno Schneider (French Horn), Sabine Meyer (Clarinet),
Diethelm Jonas (Oboe)
Conductor:  Hans Vonk
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Written: 1778 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Lukas Church, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 29 Minutes 20 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Clarinet no 3 in B flat major by Carl Stamitz
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Iona Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1781 
Date of Recording: 11/1992 
Venue:  Blackheath Concert Hall, London, England 
Length: 14 Minutes 20 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Clarinet no 11 in E flat major by Carl Stamitz
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Iona Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Classical 
Date of Recording: 11/1992 
Venue:  Blackheath Concert Hall, London, England 
Length: 17 Minutes 46 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Clarinet in B flat major by Johann Wenzel Stamitz
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Iona Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Classical 
Date of Recording: 11/1992 
Venue:  Concert Halls, Blackheath 
Length: 15 Minutes 36 Secs. 
6.
Concerto for Clarinet no 10 in B flat major by Carl Stamitz
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Iona Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Classical 
Date of Recording: 11/1992 
Venue:  Concert Halls, Blackheath 
Length: 17 Minutes 20 Secs. 
7.
Concerto for Clarinet no 1 in F major by Carl Stamitz
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Iona Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1777; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1995 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 18 Minutes 35 Secs. 
8.
Concerto for Basset Horn in B flat major by Carl Stamitz
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Basset-horn)
Conductor:  Iona Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Classical 
Written: 18th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1995 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 18 Minutes 57 Secs. 
9.
Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon in B flat major by Carl Stamitz
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet), Sergio Azzolini (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Iona Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Classical 
Date of Recording: 02/1995 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 21 Minutes 37 Secs. 
10.
Concerto for Clarinet no 8 in E flat major by Carl Stamitz
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Iona Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Classical 
Written: Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1995 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 18 Minutes 26 Secs. 
11.
Concerto for 2 Clarinets in E flat major, Op. 35 by Franz Krommer
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet), Wolfgang Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Jörg Faerber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
Period: Classical 
Written: ?1802; Bohemia 
12.
Concerto for 2 Clarinets in E flat major, Op. 91 by Franz Krommer
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet), Wolfgang Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Jörg Faerber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
Period: Classical 
Written: 1815; Bohemia 
13.
Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra in C major by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Jörg Faerber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1809; Italy 
14.
Concerto for Clarinet no 1 in F minor, J 114/Op. 73 by Carl Maria von Weber
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1811; Munich, Germany 
15.
Concerto for Clarinet no 2 in E flat major, J 118/Op. 74 by Carl Maria von Weber
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1811; Munich, Germany 
16.
Concertino for Clarinet in E flat major, J 109/Op. 26 by Carl Maria von Weber
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1811; Munich, Germany 
17.
Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B flat major, J 182/Op. 34 by Carl Maria von Weber
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Jörg Faerber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  4 Customer Reviews )
 Clarinet Heaven December 18, 2012 By D. Rincon (San Antonio, TX) See All My Reviews "Beautiful music beautifully played. Prepare yourself for several hours of clarinet heaven." Report Abuse
 Beautiful Tone Quality and Articulation November 26, 2012 By V. Rufino (Succasunna, NJ) See All My Reviews "Sabine Meyer has previously recorded the Mozart and Krommer double concerto. However, this collection contains the duo with Julian Bliss, the young British clarinetist who matches Meyer's tone and virtuosity. This is a collection for the clarinetists in cyberspace who want to hear great articulation, warm tone, and faithful interpretations of the earliest clarinet concertos by the Mannheim Stamitz duo. Again, the collection is a great bargain, especially for the clarinet college student who is beginning to build a collection of standard and not so standard repertoire." Report Abuse
 Excellent collection of clarinet concertos November 6, 2012 By M. Gwenn F. (pickering, Ontario) See All My Reviews "The clarinet is one of my favourite musical instruments- Before receiving this CD, my enjoyment was limited to the concertos of Mozart & Weber,which I am always happy to hear... not realizing that there were other composers,such as Stamitz,Rossini & Krommer who offer more excellent listening than I knew was out there... A refreshing surprise- well done by Sabine Meyer, a heretofore unknown artist who is now a favourite of mine-" Report Abuse
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