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Great Recordings Of The Century - Mozart: Clarinet Concerto, Sinfonia Concertante / Meyer, Vonk
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Hans Vonk, Sabine Meyer
Great Recordings Of The Century - Mozart: Clarinet Concerto, Sinfonia Concertante / Meyer, Vonk
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1

No timbral difference separates this midprice reissue of one of the best-loved concertos by Mozart from its previous, full-priced equivalent. There's a bit more ambience and warmth and less stridency on top. If you own the...  more »

     
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All Artists: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Hans Vonk, Sabine Meyer, Diethelm Jonas, Staatskapelle Dresden, Sergio Azzolini, Bruno Schneider
Title: Great Recordings Of The Century - Mozart: Clarinet Concerto, Sinfonia Concertante / Meyer, Vonk
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: EMI Classics
Original Release Date: 1/1/1990
Re-Release Date: 3/9/1999
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genre: Classical
Styles: Forms & Genres, Concertos, Symphonies, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Instruments, Reeds & Winds, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 724356694927

Synopsis

Amazon.com
No timbral difference separates this midprice reissue of one of the best-loved concertos by Mozart from its previous, full-priced equivalent. There's a bit more ambience and warmth and less stridency on top. If you own the original CD, there's no need to replace it, but first-time buyers should snap up these sensitive, stylish performances in their Great Recordings of the Century guise. One of the main attractions is the extended compass and deliciously "woody" tone of Sabine Meyer's basset clarinet. The clarinetist's fleet, effortless dispatch of the Clarinet Concerto's outer movements is a delight to the ear, and her improvised (or so they seem!) flourishes fit into their environment as if Mozart had written them himself. Whatever arguments have arisen over the Sinfonia Concertante's authenticity, no controversy marks this fetching interpretation by Meyer and colleagues. Hans Vonk lets the Dresden Staatskapelle be their gorgeous, collective self, although the less-caloric Orpheus Chamber Orchestra boasts greater transparency in its version. Meyer's interpretation of the Clarinet Concerto has ripened since this 1992 recording, and some listeners might prefer her more playful and overtly dramatic remake with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic. Still and all, Mozart lovers will find both a bargain and a gold mine upon acquiring this disc. Warmly recommended. --Jed Distler

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CD Reviews

The most convincing I've yet heard
John Grabowski | USA | 12/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The fact that Ms. Meyer has made yet another recording of this work has me in anticipation, especially when some say it is even better than this 1990 recording. That is hard to imagine.* As someone who's often felt existsing interpretations just don't quite do it, I was thrilled to discover this disc. Meyer gets the balance of pathos, playfulness, innocence, and naivete just right. Tempi are brisker than most performances but to me sound just right. The tone is dark and almost smokey at times, partly because she plays a basset clarinet for which the work was written, partly because she is a superb colorist who gets a maximum of impact with a minimum of flashy external effect. The slow movement plumbs the depths like I've never heard excepting maybe Reginald Kell, only Meyer has even more technique than Kell! In the first movement, though, she finds more depth and profundity in the development without ever really seeming to push--she is just such a natural with this music. And although this is not billed as a "period performance," she ad libs ornametations in the concerto very much in line with what reports tells went on in Mozart's day, giving the whole performance a very improvisatory feeling. (By contrast, Anthony Pay does no such ornamentations on his recording with Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, a recording that IS billed as "period" or "authentic," but which comes off a bit dutiful and dull.) The finale is as rolicking as one could wish for, without the heavy-handed tendency some take of playing the secondary theme as a dark and mysterious portent of death or misfortune. Vonk and the Staatskapelle Dresden accompany her with energy and clarity (listen to those airy strings!), maybe sounding a *little* too Romantic at times, but only *slightly* so. Sonics are warm and first-rate. This truly is a "Great Recording of the 20th Century."*Post script later: Having now listened to the later live recording with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic, I can state that this Vonk CD is to my ears the better recording. Meyer is wonderous on both, but Abbado and the BPO skate over the music, missing inner textures and lines in the process. The strings in that recording sound overly smooth (Karajan would have been scourned if he'd performed it so "slick") and through much of the performance everyone seems on autopilot. It may be the autopilot of a Gulfstream GV, but it's still autopilot."
For Mozart On His 250th Birthday
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 01/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is one of the single greatest concertos ever composed for any instrument, composed by a man whose 250th birthday is being celebrated on this very day.

Mozart's celebrated Clarinet Concerto has received an endless number of recordings over the decades, many of them exquisitely done. But this particular 1990 recording by clarinettist Sabine Meyer for EMI, with the late Hans Vonk leading the Dresden State Orchestra (Staatskapelle Dresden), is particularly brilliant in the way it brings out the work's inherent poignancy, and with it the knowledge that the great Wolfgang completed the work with only two months left in his life.

Since it is known that the work was composed with a basset clarinet in mind, this is how Meyer performs her solo part on this recording (as well as on her later recording with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic). But it never sounds like she is resorting to period-instrument fussiness in her solo role. The joyous outer movements are balanced by the haunting and touching slow movement to which Meyer brings out the gorgeous expressiveness of her instrument. Vonk and the Dresden orchestra accompany her with a good deal of panache.

Using the far lesser-known Sinfonia-Concertante for clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and horn was a very cagey move, given that the authenticity of this piece insofar as it relates to the Mozart canon is doubted by some musicologists. The performance by Meyer (using a modern clarinet), members of her own Sabine Meyer Wind Ensemble (Diethelm Jonas [oboe]; Bruno Schneider [horn]; and Sergio Azzolini [bassoon]), and the Dresdeners under Vonk pretty much certifies that this is indeed a true Mozart composition, full of warmth and wit in its writing.

This is a recording that genuinely lives up to EMI's claim of it being one of the Great Recordings of the Century, and is well recommended, especially for this day when we honor the great Mozart's birthday."
An Instant Classic
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 03/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I usually associate the amazing performances in EMI's "Great Recordings of the Century" series with definitive mono releases from the 50s, like Furtwangler's Beethoven 9th, or even great analog stereo dates from the 60s & 70s like Perlman's Paganini Caprices or his Brahms Violin Sonatas with Ashkenazy, or (though I'm not a big opera fan) Karajan's Strauss operas. But it takes a truly special recent digital recording, an instant classic if you will, to earn the GROTC label -- like Perlman's Beethoven Violin Concerto or this album of Mozart's Concertos. Hans Vonk leads one of the world's great orchestras, the Staatskapelle Dresden, through Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and Sinfonia Concertante, which is a concerto for four winds. The soloists are all amazing, with clarinetist Sabine Meyer leading the pack. This is Mozart at its best -- these are truly magnificent works and performances."