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Clarinet Concerto in G minor, Op 29

'The Clarinet in Concert' (CDD22017)
The Clarinet in Concert
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Movement 1: Allegro agitato
Movement 2: Adagio
Movement 3: Allegro vivace – Allegro con fuoco

Clarinet Concerto in G minor, Op 29
Julius Rietz (1812–1877) was a distinguished conductor. Starting as Mendelssohn’s assistant at the Düsseldorf Opera he later became musical director before moving to Leipzig, where he directed both the Opera and the Gewandhaus Orchestra. Mendelssohn described his conducting as ‘outstandingly good, diligent, precise and very skilful’. He was also a noted cellist but is especially remembered today for his work as a scholar and editor.

His own compositions include both vocal and instrumental works. The Clarinet Concerto, Op 29, is in three linked movements, paralleling the form of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Another feature common to both works is the entry of the soloist after a few introductory bars—a gesture which denies the orchestra the opportunity for its own exposition. Though no one would claim that Rietz is the equal of Mendelssohn his musical language is serious, and generously endowed with melody and harmonic intensity. The slow movement attains a level of serenity which lifts the Concerto well above the merely workmanlike. The infectious rhythms of the last movement lead ultimately to an ebullient coda with orchestra and soloist joining together in a dash to the finishing post and the prize of an ending in the major.

from notes by Hyperion Records Ltd © 1989

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