Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Harold Wright, Mozart, Brahms|
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Terrific Brahms, timeless Mozart
Classic | Lexington, MA USA | 08/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording combines the talents of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in a most excellent fashion. The late, great clarinetist Harold Wright brings his full subtlety and nuance to this disc, and Malcolm Lowe and the other string players complement him beautifully.
The Brahms is exceptional. But the Mozart has the rare timeless quality of a classic performance."
Marvelous performances of Divine Music
Doug - Haydn Fan | California | 12/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mozart was the first composer to give the clarinet a work of the very highest artistic level - since his quintet there have been other fine works for this marvelous sounding instrument - such as the matching Brahms quintet on this CD - but none really surpasses Mozart's lovely gift to clarinettists and their enraptured audiences.
Those of you familiar with the music will want to know what sets this particular example of performance apart from others: I would unhesitantly say it is the superb blending and balancing of tones, with the clarinet of Harold Wright mixing just right with his fellows from the Boston Symphony. Their easy assured playing is the product of decades of teaming up and music-making, and it all comes together here in ways 'celebrity teams' can never achieve. Wright was the first chair of the symphony; his many years playing together with these outstanding string players finds its culmination in these two recordings.
Harold Wright had played clarinet in Houston and Dallas, became the principal clarinet in the National Symphony, and then went on to Boston where he was principal clarinettist, from 1970 through his death in August 1993. Wright taught at the New England Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center, and was widely regarded as one of America's premiere instrumentalists. He appeared innumerable times with the Marlboro Festival, and seven times at the Casals Festival.
Trying to describe the colors and tones of great clarinettists is extremely challenging. Wright's sound leans to the mellow and warm, with little excess or harshness. In works like the Brahms on this CD he is just about as close to what the work demands as one could hope to hear.
In the Mozart Wright magically picks up and points his instrument's coloring, giving it a brighter, more lively sound. The miracle of great soloists!
The Boston Symphony Chamber Players are not just players taken from a symphony orchestra - in this case the Boston players are unique among major orchestras in actually representing a formalized situation, with the group taking tours in the symphony breaks. The quality of the string playing is very high indeed, with the notable cello of Jules Eskin setting the foundation: These are among the most beautiful string sounds I've heard in this work.
Much credit must be given Philips, this is tricky stuff to record, and this recording does the ensemble and Wright's clarinet full justice. This music is thus a pleasure all around, both in performance and the recorded sound. Philips made this recording just a few months before Wright's death, so there is a valedictory quality to this already other-world music of Brahms and Mozart. This is a very special recording, and a lovely and fitting legacy for one of America's greatest clarinettists.
Wright also recorded the Mozart much earlier in a less finished and to my taste less mature reading. Schubert: Piano Quintet "Trout"; Mozart: Clarinet Quintet"