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Spohr: Clarinet Concertos no 1 & 2 / O'Neill, et al

Album Summary

>Spohr, Louis : Concerto for Clarinet no 1 in C minor, Op. 26
>Spohr, Louis : Potpourri on themes from P. von Winter's "Das unterbrochene Opferfest" for clarinet & orchestra (or
>Spohr, Louis : Concerto for Clarinet no 2 in E flat major, Op. 57
>Spohr, Louis : Variations on a theme from "Alruna" for clarinet & orchestra in B flat major, WoO 15
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

'An outstanding disc, excellently recorded' (Gramophone)

'Michael Collins ... has all the requisite showmanship and panache for Spohr's gymnastic extravagances, [he] colours his tone imaginatively and phrases the lyrical melodies with real finesse' (Daily Telegraph)

'An outstanding disc, excellently recorded' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is excellent material for the aspiring clarinettist or the adventurous collector, and this release also serves as an ideal introduction to this long and unjustly neglected composer' (Fanfare, USA)

'Michael Collins is one of Britain's Top Guns these days, and he gives a stirring, brilliant performance of these concertos and the interesting and delicious Potpourri and Variations. The orchestra is excellent, with Mr O'Neill providing sympathetic support. Hyperion's sound is some of the best I've heard, rich and deep' (American Record Guide)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
The memorable opening C minor theme of the First Clarinet Concerto (1809) has a Beethovenian contour, yet the solo roulades which follow suggest the minor key is not to be taken too seriously. The work, like its companion, was commissioned by the clarinet virtuoso Johann Hermstedt, who adapted his instrument for the music, adding five extra keys! It is a fine piece with a lovely Adagio to remind us that Mozart's Quintet was Spohr's inspiration. The charming finale lollops along engagingly.

The Second Concerto, written a year later, is distinctly galant in the jaunty Hummelian march theme which dominates the first movement. The eloquent Adagio is unashamedly operatic, with characteristic turns in the melodic line, but the highlight is the Polacca finale, opening neatly with a solo timpani flourish answered by the horns.

This gives Michael Collins wonderful opportunities for a spirited bravura display that invites a smile of pleasure, as do his fluid, lyrical line and lovely tone and phrasing throughout. The Potpourri opens invitingly on the horns but is no medley. Instead it centres on two themes, the second with a set of variations, offering more bravura fireworks, clearly relished here. The Variations are very much in the same vein. An outstanding disc, excellently recorded.

BBC Music Magazine
The first two of his four concertos for the clarinettist Johann Simon Hermstedt... well worth hearing: they're imaginatively constructed and full of graceful melody, as well as being true virtuoso showpieces. Michael Collins effortlessly surmounts all their technical difficulties... with incisive attack, wonderfully liquid arpeggios and complete control even up to (sounding) top B flats...



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Works Details

>Spohr, Louis : Concerto for Clarinet no 1 in C minor, Op. 26
  • Performer: Michael Collins (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: Robin O'Neill
  • Ensemble: Swedish Chamber Orchestra
  • Notes: Örebro Konserthuset, Örebro, Sweden (05/24/2004-05/28/2004)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1808

>Spohr, Louis : Potpourri on themes from P. von Winter's "Das unterbrochene Opferfest" for clarinet & orchestra (or
  • Performer: Michael Collins (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: Robin O'Neill
  • Ensemble: Swedish Chamber Orchestra
  • Notes: Örebro Konserthuset, Örebro, Sweden (05/24/2004-05/28/2004)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1811

>Spohr, Louis : Concerto for Clarinet no 2 in E flat major, Op. 57
  • Performer: Michael Collins (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: Robin O'Neill
  • Ensemble: Swedish Chamber Orchestra
  • Notes: Örebro Konserthuset, Örebro, Sweden (05/24/2004-05/28/2004)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1810

>Spohr, Louis : Variations on a theme from "Alruna" for clarinet & orchestra in B flat major, WoO 15
  • Performer: Michael Collins (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: Robin O'Neill
  • Ensemble: Swedish Chamber Orchestra
  • Notes: Örebro Konserthuset, Örebro, Sweden (05/24/2004-05/28/2004)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1809