British Clarinet Concertos Vol.2
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Cat No: CHAN10891
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 26th February 2016
WorksMovements (3) for a Clarinet Concerto
Concerto no.1 for Clarinet & Strings
Bagatelles (5), op.23
Clarinet Concerto, op.68
ArtistsMichael Collins (clarinet)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
The two three-movement concertos included in this album are fine examples of their respective composers’ work. While Arnold Cooke’s Concerto makes the most of the solo instrument’s wide-ranging lyricism, the Concerto with strings and percussion by William Mathias is a virtuoso piece for the instrument, which exploits its capacity for fluent runs and incisive attacks and its affinities with jazz.
The programme is completed by two arrangements, though of different kinds. Benjamin Britten’s Movements for a Clarinet Concerto is the surviving sketch for the opening movement of a concerto which Britten started writing in 1941 for the great American jazz clarinettist Benny Goodman. Gerald Finzi’s Five Bagatelles is a set of short pieces written as a companion piece to Finzi’s well-known Clarinet Concerto - featured on volume 1 [CHAN10739].
It’s no surprise that the solo playing here is phenomenal: Michael Collins’s skills have been a welcome presence on the classical scene for decades now. His way of conjuring moments of mesmerising stillness, among all the virtuoso fireworks, is enough in itself to lift the appeal of this release way beyond the collectors’ completes suggested by the clunking title. And then there’s the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s response – ultra-vivd from start to finish … And every tiny detail is captured in stellar recorded sound. Malcolm Hayes
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