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Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Clarinet Concerto (reconstruction of original version for basset clarinet) K622 [26:44]
Sinfonia concertante in E flat major K297b for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and orchestra [29:40]
Sabine Meyer (basset clarinet, clarinet), Diethelm Jonas (oboe), Bruno Schneider (horn), Sergio Azzolini (bassoon) (K297b)
Staatskapelle Dresden/Hans Vonk
rec. Lukaskirche, Dresden, 1990. DDD
WARNER CLASSICS 2435 668972 [56:15]

This is another lower-mid price disc in Warner's Original series hallmarked by the use of the cover used for the very first issue back in 1990. Like the same series' Ravel/Rachmaninov Michelangeli CD released at the same time its content replicates a disc issued in 2002. That was part of the then EMI Classics Great Recordings of the Century marque and it was reviewed here by Don Satz. Again in an echo of the treatment accorded to this famous Mozart/Sabine Meyer showcase Warner have opted not to follow the example of the EMI Masters disc issued in 2011. That disc, reviewed here, generously added a piece by Krommer to supplement the playing time. In fact the playing time, while hardly lavish, is not bad without any additions.

Meyer is a sure and thoughtful guide through these works. That's to be expected: with her ensemble she has immersed herself in Mozart's 'harmoniemusik'. She is amongst the world's most illustrious clarinettists; likewise amongst the smaller band of practitioners of the basset clarinet. Brian Wilson reviewed her 3-CD EMI survey of the wind ensemble music. Meyer's and Vonk's account of the Clarinet Concerto reaches its understated and moving peak in the slow movement at 4:04 where something extraordinarily quiet and moving happens. There were times when the accompaniment had seemed penny plain but clearly they were husbanding their expressive resources. As for Meyer's use of the basset clarinet any differences - and I struggled to hear them - are slight. The liner-note tells us that Meyer's edition of K622, prepared in anticipation of the 1991 Mozart Year, was done in the knowledge that the Mozart work we know was actually written for the low basset instrument.

The Sinfonia concertante emerges as blithe and bonny as the finale of the K622 and shows up as less of a poor cousin to K364. Thanks are due to all four soloists. As for Vonk (1942-2004) he is an under-appreciated figure with some excellent Schumann to his name (review ~ review). By the way Meyer plays the clarinet in K297b; not the basset clarinet.

The recording quality is admirable without calling attention to itself and the fairly lengthy liner-note by Eckhardt Van Den Hoogen is worth reading. It's in German (original language) and English and French as well.

This disc from Warner and Sabine Meyer is highly attractive without being glitzy.

Rob Barnett


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