The Concerto No 2, Op 26, opens with a slow introduction, supported by the full weight of trumpets and drums. The Allegro section which follows will have none of it, however, and replaces solemnity with lightness and elegance. The soloists, when they enter, are happy to comply. The distribution of musical material is even-handed and each soloist has a share of the cake. After a conscientiously worked-out development section the music slips unobtrusively into the recapitulation. The slow movement is introduced by the strings, but after eight bars they depart, leaving the field to a wind quartet consisting of the two soloists, horn and bassoon. The finale, Rondo, is in essence a theme with variations. If the dotted rhythms of the theme suggest a certain militaristic tendency, it is immediately offset by ornamental and entertaining figuration in the solo parts, showing how far solo clarinet playing had developed by this time.
from notes by Michael Freyhan © 1991