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Track(s) taken from CDA67509

Variations in B flat major, WoO15

1809; on a theme from Spohr's opera Alruna; published 1888

Michael Collins (clarinet), Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Robin O'Neill (conductor)
Recording details: May 2004
Örebro Konserthuset, Örebro, Sweden
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Phil Rowlands
Release date: April 2005
Total duration: 7 minutes 41 seconds

Other recordings available for download

Dame Thea King (clarinet), English Chamber Orchestra, James Judd (conductor)


'An outstanding disc, excellently recorded' (Gramophone)

'An outstanding disc, excellently recorded' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Michael Collins … has all the requisite showmanship and panache for Spohr's gymnastic extravagances, [he] colours his tone imaginatively and phrases the lyrical melodies with real finesse' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Michael Collins is one of Britain's Top Guns these days, and he gives a stirring, brilliant performance of these concertos and the interesting and delicious Potpourri and Variations. The orchestra is excellent, with Mr O'Neill providing sympathetic support. Hyperion's sound is some of the best I've heard, rich and deep' (American Record Guide)

'This is excellent material for the aspiring clarinettist or the adventurous collector, and this release also serves as an ideal introduction to this long and unjustly neglected composer' (Fanfare, USA)
In June 1809 Spohr worked on the Variations in B flat major on a theme from his opera Alruna. This grand Romantic opera, whose subtitle was ‘The Owl-Queen’, had been accepted by Goethe for production in Weimar but during rehearsals Spohr came to the conclusion that it was a dramatic failure and managed to get it withdrawn. Nevertheless, he still thought highly of the music and drew upon it more than once in the future. The theme he chose for this set of variations is the opera’s seventh number, the duet ‘Euer Liebreiz, eure Schönheit’. The theme’s entry is preceded by a slow introduction, and then Hermstedt is put through his paces. Appropriately enough the piece received its premiere in Weimar on 15 January 1810.

from notes by Keith Warsop © 2005
Chairman, Spohr Society of Great Britain

Spohr travailla, en juin 1809, aux Variations en si bémol majeur sur un thème tiré d’Alruna, son grandiose opéra romantique (sous-titré «La Reine-Chouette») que Goethe avait accepté de produire à Weimar mais qu’il parvint à faire retirer après avoir conclu, durant les répétitions, que c’était un échec dramatique.

Ce qui ne l’empêcha pas de penser encore suffisamment de bien de cette musique pour y puiser souvent par la suite. Le thème choisi pour le présent corpus de variations, le duo «Euer Liebreiz, eure Schönheit» (septième numéro de l’opéra), voit son entrée précédée d’une introduction lente, avant que Hermstedt ne soit mis à l’épreuve. Cette pièce fut créée, non sans un certain à-propos, à Weimar, le 15 janvier 1810.

extrait des notes rédigées par Keith Warsop © 2005
Français: Hypérion

Natürlich wollte Hermstedt mehr davon haben. So arbeitete Spohr im Juni 1809 an den Variationen in B-Dur über ein Thema aus seiner Oper Alruna. Goethe war bereit gewesen, diese große romantische Oper mit dem Untertitel „Die Eulenkönigin“ in Weimar zu inszenieren. Aber während der Proben erkannte Spohr in seiner Oper entscheidende dramaturgische Schwächen, und es gelang ihm, die Oper zurückzuziehen.

Doch war er mit der Musik sehr zufrieden. Mehr als einmal benutzte er später wieder Teile daraus. Das Thema, das er dieser Variationsreihe zugrunde legte, ist die siebente Nummer der Oper, das Duett „Euer Liebreiz, eure Schönheit“. Dem Thema wurde eine langsame Einleitung vorangestellt, dann musste Hermstedt seine Kunst beweisen. Wie es der Zufall wollte, gelangte das Stück nun gerade in Weimar am 15. Januar 1810 zur Uraufführung.

aus dem Begleittext von Keith Warsop © 2005
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

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