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Classical

Mozart: Concerto & Quintet. Birchall: Concerto

Concerto & Quintet. Birchall: Concerto
  • Music
  • by Mozart | Sep 27th, 2022
Mozart: Concerto & Quintet. Birchall: Concerto
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  • Sonics
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Despite the advocacy of the celebrated 18th-century clarinetist Anton Stadler, the basset clarinet did not replace the now standard soprano clarinet as an orchestral mainstay. However, Stadler was good friends with Mozart, who wrote two masterpieces for that instrument, the Clarinet Concerto and the Clarinet Quintet. Both pieces are routinely played on the modern variant, since the clarinet cousins are usually pitched alike. The difference is that the basset clarinet is longer and has additional notes at the low end of the range, which gives it a richer, more resonant tone. With the ever-increasing interest in historically informed performance, recordings of this music with the basset clarinet have become common. These newest versions with soloist Michael Collins revel in the hypnotic beauty of the scores, an approach that leads to relaxed tempos and restrained dynamics. The concerto thus turns inward, revealing a chamber music-like intimacy, while conversely, the quintet opens up with a symphonic scope, qualities enhanced by the delicious, chocolatey flavor of the basset clarinet. The bonus work here is a new concerto for the basset clarinet by British composer Richard Birchall. The three-movement work has classical bones enlivened by raucous energy. The sound is tonally rich, spacious, and natural.

Tags: CLASSICAL MUSIC

By Peter Burwasser

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