Weber wrote his Concerto in F major, Op 75 in November 1811 for Georg Friedrich Brandt. It followed the immediate success of his Clarinet Concertino (written for Heinrich Bärmann), and was first performed by Brandt in the Munich Hoftheater on 28 December 1811. Brandt gave at least three further performances of the concerto before Weber returned to the work in 1822, making several revisions and thus creating the version recorded here. An impressive opening tutti builds dramatically, then stops suddenly, leaving just a pianissimo solo timpani to announce the entrance of the soloist. The second subject is pure opera—a wonderful aria-like melody first on the bassoon, then on flute and oboe alongside a lyrical obbligato by the soloist. Virtuoso passages are of course numerous, but the development section takes an unexpected turn, creating a somewhat muted drama in a triplet passage marked con fuoco, then resolves lyrically before moving subtly into the recapitulation. In the slow movement, Weber explores dramatic expressive contrast to the fullest extent, despite his economical scoring of just two horns and strings. A powerful four-bar introduction leads into a beautiful soaring melody on the bassoon with a gentle legato accompaniment in the strings, ending with an even stronger modified version of the introduction (this time marked fortissimo) which leads directly into a brief, moody second subject in C minor. The middle section, scored for just two horns and bassoon, has a gentle pastoral quality not dissimilar to the slow movement of Weber’s first clarinet concerto (written in the same year) and preempting passages in Der Freischütz
nine years later. In the last movement, the solo part skilfully combines playful lyricism with energetic virtuosity alongside an accompaniment which is mostly very lightly scored, offering the soloist scope for dynamic contrast and characterisation. Unerringly cheerful throughout, the work ends—as one would expect—with an impressive display of soloistic virtuosity.
from notes by Laurence Perkins © 2002