Weber: Clarinet Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Clarinet Concertino; Horn Concertino

Weber: Clarinet Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Clarinet Concertino; Horn Concertino

by Michael CollinsMichael Collins


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Carl Maria von Weber's two clarinet concertos, and the less familiar but delightful "Concertino for clarinet and orchestra in E flat major, Op. 26," have reached the pinnacle of the literature for clarinet and orchestra. They have an attractive balance between solo virtuosity and complex Beethovenian structures, requiring a rare level of coordination among soloist, orchestra, and conductor. In this case, soloist and conductor are one and the same, a situation that seems ideal for these works but is difficult to pull off and not terribly often attempted. The execution here by British clarinetist Michael Collins and the London Sinfonietta is superb. There are clarinetists more technically gifted than Collins, but few who could find their way through the interaction of clarinet and orchestra in the harmonic byways of the first movement of the "Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 74." Even if the clarinet's brutal high E flat interest at the beginning of the solo part is a bit squawked, it still works; the note is meant to be at the edge of playability. Collins also gets the operatic quality of the "Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor," and in the sparkling finale of the brief "Concertino in C minor for clarinet and orchestra, Op. 26," he's an absolute virtuoso joy. The "Concertino for horn and orchestra in E minor, Op. 45," is not a work on the same level and Chandos' church sound is nothing special, but this nevertheleless deserves a place in the top rank of readings of these repertory works.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/31/2012
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115170229
catalogNumber: 10702
Rank: 121437


  1. Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, J. 118 (Op. 74)
  2. Concertino for horn & orchestra in E minor, J. 188 (Op. 45)
  3. Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor, J. 114 (Op. 73)
  4. Concertino for clarinet & orchestra in E flat major, J. 109 (Op. 26)

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Weber: Clarinet Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Clarinet Concertino; Horn Concertino 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
DanClarino More than 1 year ago
Michael Collins has become England's and, certainly, one of the world's, preeminent clarinet soloists. Having burst onto the scene when he won the 1978 BBC Young Artists' competition. Like other English virtuosi, such as Gervase DePeyer and Reginald Kell, Collins has made most of his reputation as a soloist (this in a country that has a long distinguished heritage of clarinet artistry). He has a rounded, liquid tone and appreciable technique, including a crisp staccato. Frankly, I have never heard a Collins performance I have not liked, including the present. His tempi are occasionally a bit urgent (like the closing of the Weber "Concertino") but - because he can, as they say - and it is impressive. The clarinet works of Carl Maria von Weber are mandatory fare for any serious clarinetist and these are wonderful performances. I actually heard the young Collins' award winning performance of the Weber 2nd recently and then had the good fortune to hear this disc. If anything, forty years have given Michael some additional artistry and a true feel for the style. This disc offers a couple of other unique perspectives for the listener. First, we get to hear Collins as an orchestral leader (even when the concert master Laura Samuel is taking the lead) Collins became the conductor of the present ensemble, the City of London Sinfonietta in 2010 and his feel for chamber orchestra repertoire is apparent. The group responds with great sensitivity (my favorite Weber adagio; the second movement in the 1st Concerto, shines in this recording!) Another very good reason to ad this disc to your collection is the addition of the Weber "Concertino" for horn and orchestra, op.45. This is a charming but dramatic work that resembles the tone of some of Weber's operas (most notably "Oberon"; he being primarily an opera composer) French hornist Stephen Stirling plays beautifully on Collins' baton. There are so many good reasons to own this disc. Whether it is to hear some really fine playing, or to get to know Michael Collins as a conductor or to become better familiar Weber in some of his finest output, this disc is a winner. Kudos to the sound people at Chandos for their usual excellent job as well!