Mathias Kjøller plays Schumann, Reinecke, Debussy
Principal clarinet for both the Aarhus and Danish National Symphony orchestras, Mathias Kjøller (b1985) is a soloist in demand, especially after coming second in the 2013 Carl Nielsen Clarinet Competition. A fine, lyrical player with a beautiful tone, Kjøller’s sensitive performance of the Schumann Romances sets out his stall. I can see why these open the disc, beguiling the ear with an immaculately manicured rendition (in which accompanist Simon Crawford-Phillips plays no small part). Reinecke’s Introduction and Allegro appassionato (c1900) may date from half a century after Schumann but stylistically lies well within its orbit. The subtleties and larger span of Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie (1910), however, show how acute Kjøller’s sense of structure is, a feature vital to his accounts of the last of Berg’s Four Pieces, Op 5 (1913) and the Adagio, recast in 1935 from the Chamber Concerto.
Kjøller is alive to the poetry in Debussy’s Rhapsodie as much as in Berg’s miniature Pieces and the Adagio (the largest track on the disc), where he is joined by a regular chamber music partner of his, the violinist Chloë Hanslip. Their understanding is palpable in a beautifully phrased account. Corigliano’s Soliloquy (1995) is also a chamber arrangement from a larger work, the ‘Elegy’ from the Clarinet Concerto (1977). Kjøller’s partnership with the Callino Quartet – presumably forged at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival which they attend regularly – pays dividends in a sensitive interpretation. Orchid’s sound is equally finely engineered, indeed a model for chamber music recording.