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Sinfonie Concertante for two clarinets in F major
published by Imbault, Paris, in 1790

'The Clarinet in Concert' (CDD22017)
The Clarinet in Concert
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Movement 1: Allegro moderato
Movement 2: Rondeau: Allegro moderato

Sinfonie Concertante for two clarinets in F major
Starting out at the age of fourteen as a bandsman, Étienne Solère (1753–1817) progressed to the position of Professor of Clarinet at the newly opened Paris Conservatoire (1795). Subsequently he took the first clarinet chair in Napoleon’s orchestra, ending his days more humbly as second clarinet in the orchestra of the Paris Opera. During the 1780s he made a brilliant reputation through his appearances at the prestigious Paris concert series, the Concert Spirituel.

His Sinfonie Concertante in F for two clarinets is the first of two published by Imbault, Paris, in 1790 (just one year before the Mozart Clarinet Concerto was written). The title page announces that it was performed at a Concert Spirituel with Solère and Wachter as soloists. It is classically scored with strings, two oboes and two horns. The solo parts are written for the light-toned C clarinet. As in most double concertos there is repetition of material to encourage a competitive spirit between the soloists. The first clarinet is early off the starting block, making a brief surprise entry during the opening tutti, but is brought to book by an interrupted cadence. Subsequently all is fairness and good sport, with contrapuntal volleying between the soloists leading to more co-operative passages in thirds. The second movement is a graceful Rondeau whose main theme is introduced jointly by the soloists. It is just rescued from predictability by unexpected phrase extensions and timely modulations. One has to admire the musicians of the eighteenth century who mastered, in a less specialist age, both performance and compositional skills.

from notes by Hyperion Records Ltd © 1989

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