Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively Crotchet

 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Clarinet Sonata No. 2 in E-flat major, op. 120 (1894) [21:13]
Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in F-minor, op. 120 (1894) [22:44]
Jon Manasse (clarinet); Jon Nakamatsu (piano)
rec. American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City, January 2006
Text included
HARMONIA MUNDI USA HMU907430 [44:04]
Experience Classicsonline


These two sonatas are part of the last flowering of Brahms’ genius; only the Vier Ernste Gesänge followed among his substantial works. As is well-known these sonatas were the product, along with the Clarinet Trio and Clarinet Quintet, of his friendship with the phenomenal clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld. Although the clarinet had always appealed to the composer it was only at this time of his career that he wrote major works incorporating it. All four of the clarinet pieces have been justifiably popular and frequently recorded. On this disc we have the interesting duo of the co-directors of the Cape Cod (Mass) Chamber Music Festival performing.
 

Since the Sonata No. 2 appears first on the disc we will proceed in the same fashion. This is the less serious and more amiable of the two works and the performers convey these qualities well, while not missing the more serious elements. Nakamatsu provides a lot of the energy in the first movement and that is important as the movement can get a little too dreamy in the hands of some players. Manasse is best in the passages calling for the clarinet’s low register, which was one of the instrument’s attributes that most interested Brahms. Manasse’s playing of the descending passage leading into the coda is especially well done. The middle movement is a scherzo, though a serious one, and brings out some of Manasse’s finest playing, emphasizing the flowing nature of which the clarinet is capable. In the variations of the last movement we have something of a homage to Schumann. Both performers enjoy the composer’s wonderful contrasts from one variation to another and communicate this to us. 

In the first sonata economy of means is primary. Our performers not only handle the serious aspects of the first movement well, but also the plaintive ones. Manasse’s phrasing is especially good here. The monothematic slow movement shows that the clarinetist can also do well with the instrument’s upper register, but I felt that both performers could have made more of the elegiac nature of this movement. The scherzo contains the last of the composer’s dance sections and this is well handled, although the same cannot be said for the first trio section. The second scherzo section is a little more interesting. Finally, we get to what is structurally the most engaging movement in the two sonatas where the main theme is almost entirely constructed out of the interval of the second. Manasse and Nakamatsu take this movement in a very animated and carefree way, although at the end I felt that the pianist was let down by over-exuberant recording of the piano. 

Overall, these performances are a little more on the mellow side than on the dynamic, but I think many would agree that the music calls for this. As indicated above there are some problems with the recording of the piano. In addition the sound of the Academy of Arts and Letters is drier than one would like for this music. The price of the disc is also somewhat exorbitant for the amount of music contained. Still, this is a small drawback to an otherwise well-played and thought-out recording by two dynamic young performers.

William Kreindler




 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review 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.