British Clarinet Concertos Vol.2 | Chandos CHAN10891

British Clarinet Concertos Vol.2


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Label: Chandos

Cat No: CHAN10891

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 26th February 2016



This second volume of British Clarinet Concertos follows ‘a stunning recording’ made a Critic’s Choice of the Year in Gramophone (2013). Here again, the exclusive Chandos artist Michael Collins combines the role of soloist with that of conductor of the 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].


As Collins’ wonderfully supple and fluent performance of 1955’s First Clarinet Concerto shows, Cooke’s orchestral writing was also highly accomplished. It makes a good foil for the Mathias Concerto, which is equally deft, albeit more spiky and acerbic, and perhaps more inventive, too. Andrew Clements
The Guardian 26 February 2016

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

BBC Music Magazine May 2016

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