This is a delectable
disc. The Mozart is still available
in the UK on the Decca Twofer Series.
There it is coupled with other Mozart
wind concertos, in similarly fine performances
(Decca 466 247-2) but at a much higher
price than is being asked for this disc.
Last year (2004), it was also available,
coupled with the Sinfonia Concertante
with the Oistrakhs, with the Moscow
Philharmonic under Kirill Kondrashin,
but this appears to have been deleted.
Neither the Spohr nor the Weber concertos
are available with this soloist, which
is a shame as these are all superb renditions.
This performance of
the Mozart concerto was always one of
the finest, often being compared with
the Jack Brymer in the days of LP. What
often swung critics towards the de Peyer,
was not only the warm, lucid tone of
the soloist, but also the playing of
the LSO, then at one of its peaks, conducted
by that outstanding Mozartean, Peter
Although not a period
performance in any way, since the recording
was made before that movement got underway,
I know of no other performance, except
Brymer’s that gives me more pleasure.
The phrasing of both soloist and orchestra
dovetail almost seamlessly and the performance
is a constant delight. Maag’s accompaniment
is light and airy and superbly caught
by the Decca engineers. This is a Kenneth
Wilkinson recording – need I say more!
The other two concertos
are equally enjoyable, and it is very
pleasing to be able to welcome these
stylish performances back into the catalogue.
Recorded about the same time as the
Mozart, albeit in a different venue,
the recorded sound is slightly less
airy than that captured in the Kingsway
Hall. This effect is so slight as to
not make any decisive difference to
my recommendation. These performances
were recorded during Colin Davis’s early
conducting career when he was making
superb records for both EMI and Decca.
This is another of these.
The Weber Concerto
was written for Heinrich Bärmann,
a famous Munich-based clarinettist.
In traditional three movement form,
Weber superbly shows off the virtuoso
characteristics of the instrument as
well as producing a well written and
charming piece of music.
Spohr has been eclipsed since his day;
a shame, as he was well thought of when
he was alive. If this is anything to
go by, the clarinet concerto will in
no way supersede the Mozart work. It
is however good enough to be counted
in the same company as the Weber. Colin
Davis accompanies his soloist superbly.
This is another bargain
from Down Under and deserves a place
on our shelves. Highly recommended.