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Hyperion Records

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Full Summer by Sir John Arnesby Brown (1866-1955)
City of Nottingham Museums, Castle Museum & Art Gallery
Track(s) taken from CDH55076
Recording details: January 1991
St Martin's Church, East Woodhay, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: April 1992
Total duration: 23 minutes 35 seconds

'These are diversions – divertimenti – in the best sense of the word. There’s plenty of lively, affectionate musicianship in these performances – all warmly and intimately recorded' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Easygoing, tuneful and very likeable … there’s plenty of lively, affectionate musicianship in these performances – all warmly and intimately recorded' (MusicWeb International)

Clarinet Quintet in E flat major, Op 57
composer

Allegro  [8'22]
Larghetto  [4'24]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
To most people today the name ‘Romberg’ brings to mind the composer of The Desert Song and The Student Prince, i.e. Sigmund, the twentieth-century American composer of Hungarian birth. However, ‘Romberg’ as printed without Christian name on the original set of parts clearly at some point signified someone very different. Even in nineteenth-century Germany, however, there would still have been room for confusion, for there was an entire German family of Rombergs. Bernhard Heinrich (1767–1841) and his cousin, the present composer Andreas Jakob (1767–1821) were the most prominent. Bernhard was a cellist, Andreas a violinist; as children they gave recital tours together (often passing themselves off as brothers) and in 1790 both joined the electoral orchestra in Bonn, which numbered the young Beethoven among its members (he played viola).

In the early 1800s Andreas settled in Hamburg and cut his performing down increasingly in favour of composing. He won international recognition for his Schiller setting Das Lied von der Glocke. Other works include The Messiah (after Klopstock), numerous symphonies, concertos, string quartets and songs (many popular among amateurs). Haydn and Mozart were his models, as we can hear in the Clarinet Quintet. He died too young to be influenced by Beethoven. Contemporary accounts of his violin playing might just as well be describing his compositions: ‘robust rather than fiery, vigorous and grainy rather than emotional’ (Rochlitz) and ‘cultured and thoughtful’ (Spohr). Note the odd combination here—one violin, two violas (as opposed to two violins and one viola). Almost certainly this was designed to emphasize the importance allotted throughout the work to Romberg’s own instrument, the violin; which is not to say that his treatment of the ‘official’ soloist, the clarinet, is anything less than sympathetic and inventive.

from notes by Christopher Palmer © 1992

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