Concertante: Virtuosic Wind Concertos
The subtitle of this enterprising release by rights should be ‘Virtuoso Wind Double Concertos’, since three of the four works here feature either unusual or quite possibly unique combinations from the pool of clarinet, bassoon and horn, which are combined in the concluding Symphonie concertante by Louis Emmanuel Jadin (1768-1853). The soloists here are all members of the Danish wind quintet Carion and their knowledge of each other as players shines through in these beautifully prepared and balanced performances.
Agostino Belloli (1778-1837), the most celebrated of a horn-playing family and an exact contemporary of Hummel, is all but forgotten these days but his Concerto for clarinet and horn shows him to have been a most capable, if a touch lightweight composer. Not unlike Danzi (the only one of these composers to be still widely played) and Ignaz Lachner (1807 95; his brother Franz is the well-known member of that family), perhaps, whose four-movement concertinos are deftly written, expressive but with no pretence to profundity. Jadin, by contrast, seems on the evidence of his two-part Symphonie concertante (there is a central Adagio but its 76 seconds are really a slow up-beat to the finale) a composer of potentially greater range.
After this delightful Classical-period programme, perhaps this same team will do something similar with more modern repertoire (with a chance to feature the excluded flautist and oboist from the Carion Wind Quintet and others): Strauss’s Duett-Concertino is an obvious contender; likewise Hindemith’s brace from 1949 (the concertos for woodwinds and harp, and for trumpet and bassoon); and then what about McCabe’s for oboe and clarinet? There is scope for these fine players to enrich the catalogue further. Recommended for the unadventurous, who will find much to enjoy here.