This new recital brings together all of Weber’s chamber works to employ more than two musicians. Opening the disc is the famous Clarinet Quintet, presented in a performance which sparkles with joie de vivre from the off. Written for the clarinet virtuoso Heinrich Baermann (whose recent acquisition of a new-fangled ten-keyed instrument opened up exciting new technical possibilities for the composer), the work quickly established itself in the public arena, its lyrical poise encompassing more than enough pyrotechnical showmanship to guarantee rapturous applause.
The Piano Quartet, written when the composer was barely out of his teens, sets a similarly ambitious challenge—this is composition at the cutting edge of the Romantic tradition where all four instruments are given scope to shine within a comprehensively convention-breaking structure.
The Trio for flute, cello and piano was completed in 1819, during the composition of Weber’s operatic masterpiece Der Freischütz. Graceful lyricism sits happily alongside impassioned intensity as the composer unites the three instruments—perhaps unlikely bedfellows—in a whole of pleasing integrity.
The Gaudier Ensemble is among the foremost of chamber ensembles, and these latest performances are every bit as thrilling as their enviable reputation would lead one to expect.