Saturday, 29 November 2008

205. Carl Maria von Weber - Clarinet Concertos nos. 1 & 2 (1811)


Title: Weber/Crusell Clarinet Concertos
Performers: Antony Pay, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Year: 1987
Length: 44 minutes


Carl Maria von Weber makes some flashy Clarinet concertos indeed and they are pretty great precisely because of that. He is not afraid of making a bit of a show off piece for the instrument, just look at the coda of the first movement of the first concerto, it's really exciting music.

It could, of course, be criticised for it's lack of subtlety, but Weber is also a really original composer and his music is perfectly integrated into the Romantic period and it is even forward looking.

This is how you do show off pieces, basically, you are good at composing, you make some original, interesting music, you have some great melodies and over that you put the virtuosistic playing, Weber doesn't make it live solely of virtuosism, that is just one more thing to excite the ears. I do love the clarinet as well, beautiful instrument.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

On the first movement of the first concerto:

This movement was very innovative for its time by sounding as if it were composed by a later composer, Felix Mendelssohn. It starts with the cellos playing the main theme later being followed with an explosion by the whole orchestra. The violins pick up the melody which eventually progresses, subsides, and clears the stage for the solo clarinet. The soloist begins with a painful song marked "con duolo". The clarinetist performs variants on that source which later results in a determined run played by the solo instrument. After that climax, the music dies off with the clarinet mourning a line marked "morendo". A grand pause enters which provides transition for the return of the cellos stating the main theme, but this time in the key of A-flat major rather than F minor. The soloist enters shortly afterward with a sweet response. The clarinet keeps playing a delicate melody then descends down towards the lower tones with a marking which reads "perdendosi", which tells the player to decrease in speed and sound. Then the tutti arrives singing a sweet, innocent melody. The clarinet reenters shortly after, still playing in a lighter mood than the beginning of the piece. Later, the soloist perform sets of playful triplets. After the triplets, the clarinet unleashes itself into the Baermann Kandenz, which was inserted by the dedacatee, Heinrich Baermann. This is a relatively short, lively, virtuosic passage that is played by most performers.

Sorry there's no better version, but this one is quite good anyway, movement 1, Concerto no. 1:

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