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Jean Xavier LEFÈVRE (1763-1829)
Clarinet Quintets: No. 1 in E flat major [12:42]; No. 2 in B flat major [12:31]; No. 3 in C major [13:01]; No. 4 in C minor [17:55]
Eduard Brunner (clarinet); Ana Chumachenco (violin); Wen-Sinn Yang (cello); Hariolf Schlichtig (viola)
rec. no details given
TUDOR 7136 [56:36]
Experience Classicsonline

Has any disc started with such an emphatic intake of breath? Brunner swells his lungs for Lefèvre's bubblingly Mozartean First Clarinet Quartet. The fluency of the playing combines a poignant lyricism with a flighty yet genteel fantasy. Certainly if you like music that straddles the Mozart-Weber divide you will have to go with this. It is the Mozartean manner that is to the fore with this Swiss-born and French-speaking composer. Lefèvre, who may also be familiar from his clarinet concertos, seems happy to work within a language whose limits were set by Mozart and developed by Weber. He has a felicitous way with the solo instrument but does not neglect contrapuntal interest in the parts for the three wind instruments.

The Fourth Quartet takes on a darker colouration and a broader emotional range. It is in this work that Lefèvre casts aside accustomed rules and embraces a wider emotional ambit and palette - more Beethovenian in contrast to the simple graces of the earlier works. The tappetty-clicky sound of the key action is one of the prominent aspects of this recording. Brunner clearly knows his Lefèvre. He is the soloist with the Münchner Kammerorchester conducted by Reinhard Goebel on Tudor 7098 in clarinet concertos 3, 4 and 6.

So there you have it: Mozartean felicity and one work of Beethovenian depth.

Rob Barnett


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