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Franz Krommer (1759-1831): Clarinet Quartet Op. 83; Clarinet Quintet Op. 95 / Henk de Graaf, clarinet; Schubert Consort Amsterdam

Album Summary

>Krommer, Franz : Quartet for clarinet, violin, viola & cello in B flat major, Op. 83
>Krommer, Franz : Quintet for clarinet, violin, 2 violas & cello in B flat major, Op. 95
Performer Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Op.83 is the last of the six quartets written by Franz Krommer (as now we call him) for the instrument that he did so much to promote in its infancy, the clarinet. He was born Frantisek Vincent Kramar was born in 1759 in the Moravian town of Kamenice, a heritage that goes some way to explaining the seemingly endless flow of good-humoured, well-made melodies that sprang from his pen and are so ideally suited to the liquid flow of the clarinet’s tone. Krommer was one of the most successful of the many influential Czech composers in Vienna at the turn of the 18th century. With the exception of piano works, lieder and operas, Krommer cultivated all the musical genres of his time, and was regarded (with Haydn) as the leading composer of string quartets, and as a serious rival of Beethoven. 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 specialised 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.

America Record Guide, November/December 2015

America Record Guide, November/December 2015
The performances are solid. De Graaf and his supporting cast play with sparkling clarity, effortless technique, and excellent teamwork, infusing the fast movements with drive and vigor and sculpting the slow movements with care. And while Krommer often places the clarinet front and center, De Graaf is a sensitive soloist, taking the reins when necessary, but always ensuring that his colleagues have their say in the texture. The composer and his craft take the spotlight.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Hervormde Kerk, Rhoon, The Netherlands (10/03/2014).



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Works Details

>Krommer, Franz : Quartet for clarinet, violin, viola & cello in B flat major, Op. 83
  • Performer: Henk Graaf (Clarinet)
  • Ensemble: Schubert Consort Amsterdam
  • Running Time: 20 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Krommer, Franz : Quintet for clarinet, violin, 2 violas & cello in B flat major, Op. 95
  • Performer: Henk Graaf (Clarinet)
  • Running Time: 31 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical