on 2 October 2010
This is a most enjoyable disc of Weber's clarinet works - Concertos Nos.1 and 2, Concertino and Quintet.
These works typify Weber's early Romantic compositions - dramatic and lyrical. While the fast movements are delightful and cheerful, the slow movements are lyrical. The slow movement of Concerto No.2 is hauntingly beautiful, and reminds the listener of the second movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No.23, K.488.
Since these works were inspired by and composed for Weber's virtuosic clarinettist friend, Baermann, we need a virtuosic player to do justice to the compositions. Sabine Meyer is brilliant in technique and delightful in interpretation. Her playing is dazzling and faultless. Listen to the last movements of Concerto No.2 and Quintet! This is one of those discs that the record collector discovers only occasionally.
In Concertos and Concertino, Meyer is accompanied by the excellent Dresden Staatskapelle, Weber's own orchestra in the early 1800s. Quintet is a string orchestra version, and Meyer is joined by Wuerttemburg Chamber Orchestra. The texture is, therefore, thicker than the usual string quartet version, but the orchestra produces a discreet and rounded sound.
All in all, this is a disc not to be missed by lovers of clarinet works. The recording, made in 1984-85, is of demonstration quality.