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Clarinet Quartet Op.83 & Quintet Op.95[CD]
~ KROMMER / SCHUBERT CONSORT AMSTERDAM / GRAAF
He is perhaps best known now for his clarinet concertos, to which his quartets including the instrument form a not insubstantial pendant: they, too, are full of virtuosic writing for the instrument, who placed forward in a soloistic position, with the string parts mostly moving together to accompany it. In the late Clarinet Quintet, however, the instruments enjoy a more equal balance of the kind familiar from Brahms's chamber music for the instrument: indeed, in the opening movement's fugue, the clarinet is the last voice to enter. Here the harmonies are cloudier, more Romantically inclined, and a more reflective spirit presides even in the quick outer movements: there is a rapt and melancholic Andante which deserves far greater popularity. These new recordings come from Dutch instrumentalists who have specialized in this repertoire. As principal clarinettist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for many years, Henk de Graaf has recorded Mozart's Clarinet Concerto (as soloist) and much chamber music from the late-Classical/Early Romantic period by Crusell, Weber, Spohr and others.
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