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Carl STAMITZ (1745–1801)
Concerto No.4 in B flat, for two clarinets (1780) [18:12]
Orchestral Quartet in G, for strings [13:27]
Johann STAMITZ (1717–1757)
Clarinet Concerto in B flat [16:22]
Hans Deinzer, Jann Engel (clarinets)
Cappella Coloniensis/Gabriele Ferro (No.4), Ulf Björlin
rec. 18 February 1982 (No.4); 20–21 February 1983, Lindlar Kulturzentrum. DDD
PHOENIX EDITION 177 [48:01] 


Experience Classicsonline

Father and son Stamitz here demonstrate the versatility of the clarinet, which was still in its relative infancy when these works were written. The use of the modern clarinet, whilst making these work most enjoyable, probably irons out some of the corners which would have been created by the less sophisticated instrument for which they were written.

The Double Concerto is a lovely work. It has no pretensions to any real depth of feeling. Even the slow, middle, movement is quite a fast moving Andante. This is more of a divertimento than a Concerto for the music contains none of the tension and dispute normally found in a Concerto. The soloists play together most of the time, in gentle and relaxed lyricism. But no matter what the title of the piece, this is a real winner and a delight to listen to. Indeed, it is exactly the lack of conflict usually found in a Concerto which makes it such a joy. 

The Orchestral Quartet is a three movement Suite for string orchestra. It’s as light as the Concerto which precedes it but, strangely, contains a stronger sense of purpose. It would 

be appreciated at any concert of music of this period and would be a most welcome change from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Although without the total charm of that well known work, it has an appeal which is all its own. 

Daddy Stamitz’s Clarinet Concerto is the real thing; a dialogue between soloist and orchestra. A very serious first movement, complete with cadenza, gets things off to a good start. There are good tunes, proper working out of material, always with the soloist prominent, and a fine grasp of form. The slow movement, is a kind of aria and is all too short; the finale a lively dance. The performance is very good but my one complaint is the huge rallentando at the final cadence of the first movement. This abruptly puts the brakes on an otherwise delightful exposition of the music. 

These are perky, and very enjoyable, performances of clarinet concertos which aren’t by Mozart! The recordings come from West Deutsches Radio and they are clean and bright, if without the sparkling quality we usually expect from digital recordings. Indeed, these must have been amongst the first digital recordings WDR undertook. Great fun, quite stylish performances and good sound. Well worth investigating.

Bob Briggs


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