Johannes BRAHMS (1833-97)
Clarinet Sonatas - F minor, Op. 120 No. 1; E flat, Op. 120 No.
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1960)
Clarinet Sonata (1939).
Colin Bradbury (clarinet);
Bernard Roberts (piano).
The Divine Art 2-5014
This is inspired programme planning. The emotional world of the Hindemith
is not a million miles away from that of the Brahms, but its spiky harmonic
vocabulary remains far enough away to carry sufficient contrast to the Romantic
weight of the two heftier Sonatas.
The Brahms Sonatas take up the lion's share of this offering, and Bradbury
and Roberts are more than equal to their demands. Any doubts harboured after
the F minor's first movement (great on detail but in need of a long-range
sense of line) are effectively forgotten by the end. There is real chamber
music dialogue in the Andante un poco adagio, and the finale is true
to the vivace marking. The Allegretto grazioso shines brightest
in this performance, however: autumnal, like a half-caught memory and yet
conjuring up an Austrian Landler in the process.
The same musicianly qualities grace the E flat Sonata. The final variations
are strongly characterised and Bradbury's half-tone in the first movement
is a joy. The Hindemith merely adds to the pleasure afforded by this CD:
the final pianissimo of the first movement hangs magically in the air whilst
the playful second and fourth movements offer aural balm.
Competition is not as fierce as might be imagined in the Brahms and this
coupling is, anyway, unique. Bradbury and Roberts provide a rewarding musical