About this Recording
8.223431 - Clarinet and Orchestra
English 

Clarinet and Orchestra

Clarinet and Orchestra

David, Stadler, Hummel, Spohr, Späth and Kreutzer

 

It may seem strange that clarinet music of such an exemplary kind as that included here should have remained virtually unknown. One reason for this lies surely in the considerable technical difficulties involved and another in the fact that the music is not so logical or graceful as the work, for example, of Weber and of Mozart for the instrument. The nineteenth century, moreover, was so blessed with clarinet masterworks by great composers such as Weber, Spohr, Schumann, Brahms and Reger, that little room was left for the music of so-called lesser masters. Avant-garde composers of the twentieth century, through compositions that have less appeal to the public, have contributed considerably to the increased attention that we now pay again to the outstanding compositions of those artists who stand directly by the great figures of the day and who, through their works, created a basis for the first flowering of genius.

 

Ludwig Spohr has been to a certain extent restored to his old position, particularly through some of his songs and chamber music. Konradin Kreutzer is known to us through a few extracts from his opera Das Nachtlager von Granada, Night's Lodging in Granada, through his folk-style Hobel-Lied and through his splendid Septet. On the other hand who now knows the Coburg composer Andreas Späth, whose compositions remind us so much of the work of Franz Schubert? No-one. His work slumbers untouched in the archives of South Germany. The case of Ferdinand David is very different; there is hardly a music dictionary that does not praise this Jewish musician in the highest terms, yet his compositions have remained until now merely archival material, his reputation perhaps affected by the racial policies of the Third Reich, since otherwise it is difficult to explain the neglect of his music. His importance as a violin virtuoso and as a man close to Mendelssohn, whose famous Violin Concerto was written for David, suggests a rich and still viable legacy. There remains last but not least Johann Nepomuk Hummel, a pupil of Mozart. His Trumpet Concerto still gives pleasure today as do some of his piano concertos. The sad conclusion is that all these composers were not just known in their lifetime and their own decade, but enjoyed a reputation throughout Europe. Anton Stadler was the clarinettist for whom Mozart wrote his clarinet quintet and concerto.

 

The concert-pieces performed here for the first time are in no way to be taken as representative, yet they are distinguished by fine melodic invention and a high level of virtuosity as was usual in the age of wind virtuosi. Kreutzer, who was himself a celebrated clarinet virtuoso, wrote his Variations for his private performance in Donaueschingen, where his Prince formed the distinguished audience. Späth and Spohr with their clarinet pieces had in mind the distinguished clarinet virtuoso Johann Simon Hermstedt, who was born in Langensalza in 1778 and spent much of his career in the service of the Duke of Sondershausen. The dedications of David's Opus 8 and Hummers Adagio and Rondo are not known.

 

The present performances in the case of the works by Hummel, Kreutzer and Späth, are based on the original autographs and those by Spohr and David on contemporary printed editions.

 

Dieter Klöcker

(English version by Keith Anderson)

 

Dieter Klöcker

 

Dieter Klöcker was born in Wuppertal and studied with Karl Kroll and Jost Michaels at the North West German Music Academy in Detmold. From 1962 until 1969 he served as principal clarinettist in a number of German orchestras, later establishing the Consortium Classicum, an ensemble with which he has toured widely abroad, with recordings for EMI, Teldec, Orfeo, Novalis, Koch-Schwann, BASF and other companies, and awards that include the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, the Wiener Flötenuhr and the Prix Italia. Since 1975 Dieter Klöcker has been professor of the clarinet and of chamber music at the State High School for Music in Freiburg / Breisgau.

 

Gernot Schmalfuss

 

Gernot Schmalfuss was born in 1943 in East Prussia and in 1963 began his studies of oboe, piano and conducting at the Detmöld College of Music. After graduation in 1968 he was appointed principal oboist in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, taking lessons in conducting from Rudolf Kempe. Four years later he became conductor of the Munich Chamber Soloists and from 1978 combined a position as professor of oboe at the Munich Richard Strauss Conservatory with that of conductor of the Conservatory Orchestra. Since 1985 he has been on the teaching staff of the Detmold College of Music, while pursuing a career at home and abroad as an oboist and as a conductor. He has recorded for EMI, Telefunken, Orfeo, DGG and other leading companies.


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