- Der Beherrscher der Geister (The Ruler of the Spirits), overture for orchestra, J. 122 (Op. 27) (revision of overture to Rübezahl)
- Concertino for clarinet & orchestra in E flat major, J. 109 (Op. 26)
- Oberon, overture to the opera
- Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor, J. 114 (Op. 73)
- Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, J. 118 (Op. 74)
Carl Maria von Weber's clarinet concertos have gained great popularity, and part of the reason is their seamless integration of a virtuoso idiom with an understanding of the Beethovenian revolution in harmony and structure. They require an unusually close coordination among soloist, conductor, and orchestra that has been happily accomplished by several groups, including the troika of clarinetist Martin Fröst, conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow, and the Tapiola Sinfonietta. There's still room for an audiophile release that exploits some of the work's subtle balances, and the nonpareil German audiophile label MDG seemed like a good place to look for one. But it doesn't really happen here. There's nothing wrong with the playing of clarinetist Martin Spangenberg, the longtime principal clarinetist of the Munich Philharmonic. He's technically well equipped, capable of hitting the treacherous high E flat on which the clarinet must enter in the first movement of the "Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 74." This juncture is quite illustrative of the beauties of these concertos: the orchestra defines a musical space, and the solo unexpectedly begins its existence outside those parameters in a most vivid way. Spangenberg, here and in general, hits the ball solidly, but the Orchester M18, under his own baton, doesn't provide him with support. The curious name of this group, which sounds as though it's somehow associated with an English superhighway, is not explained in the packaging. The soloist-conductor combination is rarely pursued among clarinetists, and you'd think it would be promising here, but the orchestra is slack and colorless. That's too bad, because MDG's engineering from the Abtei Marienmünster monastery farmhosue is typically precise, and the album includes a little-known Weber overture as well as Spangenberg's bravura mastery in the small but hair-trigger "Concertino for clarinet and orchestra in C minor." On balance, though, there are stronger choices.