Hyperion Records

Clarinet Concerto No 2 in F minor 'Grand Concerto', Op 5

'Crusell & Weber: Clarinet Concertos' (CDA66088)
Crusell & Weber: Clarinet Concertos
'Crusell: Clarinet Concertos' (CDH55203)
Crusell: Clarinet Concertos
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Movement 1: Allegro
Track 1 on CDA66088 [12'13] Archive Service
Track 4 on CDH55203 [12'13] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2: Andante pastorale
Track 2 on CDA66088 [5'51] Archive Service
Track 5 on CDH55203 [5'51] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3: Rondo: Allegretto
Track 3 on CDA66088 [6'46] Archive Service
Track 6 on CDH55203 [6'46] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Clarinet Concerto No 2 in F minor 'Grand Concerto', Op 5
The second concerto, subtitled ‘Grand Concerto’, was one of the most celebrated. It bears a dedication to Alexander I of Russia, probably in gratitude for favours bestowed during Crusell’s visit to St Petersburg. The layout of the three movements is firmly classical although here and there one notices the influence of Beethoven. This influence is most apparent in the opening ritornello which is concentrated and dramatic and contains a strikingly Beethovenian modulation to D flat major. However, with the arrival of the clarinet the drama becomes predominantly lyrical, despite wide leaps and virtuoso passage-work. The conclusion of the first movement, in the tonic major, is closer to the spirit of Haydn; it certainly dispels any impression of personal-dramatic content.

The slow movement (Andante pastorale) is in D flat major and has much of the romantic warmth traditionally associated with that key. Scored for clarinet and strings alone, it opens with a long melody for the clarinet accompanied by held chords and gentle pizzicato triplets on the cellos. The middle section explores darker minor-key regions before returning to a simple condensed repeat of the opening material. On this recording the cadenza just before the reprise, and the subsequent ornamentations, are by Alun Francis.

Despite the return to F minor, the final Rondo: Allegretto is high-spirited and gives ample opportunity for technical display, though Crusell wisely reserves his most brilliant writing for the coda.

from notes by Stephen Johnson © 1994

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