Hyperion Records

Clarinet Concerto No 4 in E minor, WoO20
sketched 1828, orchestrated January 1829; for clarinet in A; first performed by Johann Simon Hermstedt on 12 June 1829 at the Nordhausen Music Festival

'Spohr: Clarinet Concertos Nos 3 & 4' (CDA67561)
Spohr: Clarinet Concertos Nos 3 & 4
Movement 1: Allegro vivace
Movement 2: Larghetto
Movement 3: Rondo al espagnol

Clarinet Concerto No 4 in E minor, WoO20
At the close of 1821 Spohr’s career reached a major turning point with his appointment as Kapellmeister at the court of Kassel and he remained there for the rest of his life. It was in Kassel that he composed the Clarinet Concerto No 4 in E minor WoO20, sketched in August 1828 and orchestrated in January 1829. It ranks among Spohr’s finest compositions and received its premiere in Hermstedt’s hands on 12 June 1829 during the Nordhausen Musical Festival where the composer demonstrated his continuing love for Mozart by taking the viola part in a performance of the latter’s Clarinet Trio, K498.

The fourth concerto, the only one Spohr composed for the A clarinet, opens with a sombre Romantic-sounding theme (Allegro vivace) which is contrasted with a more serene second subject, but this relaxed atmosphere is interrupted by powerful though brief orchestral outbursts. The Larghetto is reflective and melancholy, with operatic touches coming from declamatory passages and dramatic arpeggios.

The finale, a Rondo al espagnol, appears on the surface to be a joyous, good-humoured movement but there is an underlying feeling of sadness emphasized by the E minor tonality that dominates proceedings. The opening theme of the work is echoed in the arpeggio figuration at the close. Spohr had earlier used a Spanish finale in his sixth violin concerto, composed in the winter of 1808–9 after hearing a Spanish soldier quartered on him in Gotha play his native melodies on a guitar, and he turned to this Spanish inspiration for a number of further works including a string quartet and an opera as well as this clarinet concerto.

from notes by Keith Warsop © 2008

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA67561 track 4
Allegro vivace
Recording date
3 June 2006
Recording venue
Örebro Konserthuset, Örebro, Sweden
Recording producer
John H West
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Spohr: Clarinet Concertos Nos 3 & 4 (CDA67561)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: May 2008
   English   Français   Deutsch