Sunday, May 2, 2010

The greatest of all Clarinet Concerti

Clarinet Concerto in A Major (K.622) written in 1791 is the last of the Mozart concerti and mainly the notes are written in the bass register, written for Basset Klarinett. Up until 1791, no one knew what the bass clarinet looked like and it came as a shock to see a long instrument with a bulbous bell on the end. This work shows the depth of Mozart's mature style. At the peak of his compositional abilities and just weeks before his death, Mozart composed this concerto. He wrote it specifically for his friend and fellow mason, Anton Stadler, a clarinettist, who owed him $25,000 equivalent of that time and never paid it back to him. As a result of this non payment, Mozart was hand to mouth in his last ailing days.
This recording by Bernstein with Peter Schmidl and the Wiener Philharmoniker is all eloquence and brilliance. I haven't heard a single bad recording of this concerto by any soloist or orchestra, be it a chamber or larger ensemble. Here, Peter Schmidl has an emotional relationship with Mozart right from the first note. Bernstein carries off Mozart with competence in this rendition of the greatest of all clarinet concerti along with a crisp performance of the twenty-fifth and the twenty-ninth symphonies.

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