52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Concertino in E flat, J109 Op 26 (1811) [9.16]
Clarinet Concerto #1 in f, J114 Op 73 (1811) [21.02]
Clarinet Concerto #2 in Eb, J118 Op 74 (1811) [22.16]
Clarinet Quintet in Bb, J182 Op 34 (1815) [5.46]
Sabine Meyer, clarinet
Staatskapelle Dresden/Herbert Blomstedt (concertos)
Württembergisches Kammerorchester, Heilbron/Jörg Faerber (quintet and concertino)
Recorded at the Lukaskirche, Dresden, Germany, September 1985 (concertos)
Recorded at Kirche auf der Karlshöhe, Ludwigsburg, Germany, November 1984
Notes in English, Deutsch, Français. 8-page catalogue of EMI GROTC recordings.


Comparison recording: Eduard Brunner, clarinet; Bamberger Symphoniker/Oleg Caetani. Orfeo C067831 A (Opp 26, 73, 74) 1983

In these concertos Weber’s musical style strikes me as just about halfway between Beethoven and Verdi, and these concertos owe virtually nothing to Mozart; while the Quintet sounds at times like a collaboration between Mozart and Beethoven. The opening of the Second Concerto is reminiscent of Paganini, and the extreme jumps in range in the clarinet part certainly demand the greatest virtuosity from the player. The slow movements to the Quintet and the Second Concerto have some of the quality of operatic scenes — yearning, romantic solos. The final movements of both concertos have a jauntiness of phrase reminiscent of Telemann. That’s right, in spite of the opus numbers, all of these works were produced in the same year, 1811, the second two on commission from the King of Bavaria, and all were intended for the clarinettist Heinrich Bärman. Weber actually began work on the Quintet the same year, but it wasn’t completed until four years later.

This artist’s command of the clarinet is stunning from the first notes of this disk. It takes skill and courage to utilise the clarinet’s "metallic" range as Ms. Meyer does, producing a thrillingly dramatic tonal, textural, and dynamic sound, as well as very many very sweet sounds when called for. Recording is excellent, orchestral backup is enthusiastic, and the result is almost great music. Certainly these works have never sounded so good, so important.

The Brunner recording utilises faster tempi throughout which give more urgency, higher energy, more of a sense of sturm und drang, more high brass sound to the orchestral tuttis, contrasting with a slightly more mellow, less "metallic" approach to the solos. Orchestra is slightly more forward. Brunner observes a substantial cut in the slow movement of the Concerto #1.

Both disks are excellent; the choice is on style not on quality, and the fact that on the Meyer disk you get the Clarinet Quintet — orchestrated — as a bonus, and a valuable bonus it is indeed, since some will find it the best music on the disk.

Paul Shoemaker

see also review by Christopher Howell

Great Recordings of the Century


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.