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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: 29 minutes 48 seconds

Clarinet Quintet in E flat major, Op 102
composer

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
If there are numerous Rombergs there are even more Fuchses: the 1980 Grove lists eleven. Perhaps surprisingly, this Fuchs is not the clarinettist-composer Georg-Friedrich Fuchs (1752–1821)—nearly all of whose numerous compositions and arrangements feature the clarinet—but a musician better known today (rather like Stanford, in fact) for the composers he taught than for the composer he was. In his lifetime, however, Robert Fuchs was quite popular as a minor composer. His five small orchestral serenades caused him to be nicknamed ‘Serenaden-Fuchs’ (which might be translated ‘The Serenading Fox’) and his music was publicly acclaimed by, of all people, Brahms, almost never known for generosity of spirit when it came to other composers’ efforts, particularly those of the rising generation. Fuchs’s relations with his ‘rising generation’ on the other hand were, as far as is recorded, extremely cordial. He settled in Vienna in 1865 and joined the teaching staff of the Conservatory where Mahler, Sibelius, Franz Schmidt, Franz Schreker, Wolf and Zemlinsky were among the pupils who passed through his hands.

Fuchs completed the Clarinet Quintet in 1917 and it was first performed in Vienna in March of the same year as part of a concert celebrating the composer’s seventieth birthday. It was enthusiastically received by both public and press—the Neue Freie Presse Wien heard in it ‘the scents and colours of soft spring blossoms set to music’. The work has a sweetness and innocence and a fresh poetic charm that recalls Schubert (or is it simply Viennese?); and in every technical aspect—melody, polyphony, form, instrumentation—Fuchs’s pupils clearly had a master who knew how to practise what he preached. But then Brahms had said, years before: ‘Fuchs is a splendid musician. Everything is so refined, so skilled, so delightfully inventive, we can always take pleasure in what we hear.’

from notes by Christopher Palmer © 1992

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