A Grand Duo-The Clarinet and Early Romantics
Schumann mourned Norbert Burgmuller’s early death in vivid terms, grieving that, “Fate, instead of decimating the mediocrities, who are encamped around in troops, has taken from us the commanding talent”. Though he does not mention the work specifically, the charming
Colin Lawson and Neal Peres da Costa respond to the work’s melodic charm and its particular harmonic flavour. In Weber’s own Grand duo, they appear to have listened rather too attentively to his remarks calling for flexibility within a general tempo, with faster passages in slow movements and vice versa. The essence of this is that the basic tempo remains, with deviations relating to it: in the opening Allegro con fuoco, they bring the music practically to a halt in places, constituting not so much flexibility as an actual change in tempo. The fuoco is all but extinguished. It is the Andante which comes off best, and in which Lawson’s sweet-sounding clarinet, a copy of a contemporary Grenser, and da Costa’s Collard piano of 1826 sound most delicately blended. Franz Danzi’s typically amiable, well-written Sonata is nicely played, as are the very seldom heard pieces by Loewe, amusing little semi-pastiches of the vogue for Scottish romanticism rather than of anything specifically Scottish.'