Works for clarinet and orchestra
As a recent winner of the ''BBC Young Musician of the Year'' award, Emma Johnson can be assumed to have a first-rate technique; as indeed it indisputably turns out. She also has the enviable quality of youthful freshness which makes everything she plays utterly engaging, especially the Rossini Introduction and Variations, where the gaiety of her playing is delightful. Thea King (Hyperion) has of course also an enviable technique and no doubt would show that greater maturity that only comes with long experience in music that probes rather deeper than these pieces do. Johnson, however, is perhaps wise not to challenge her famous rival on this record in anything of the sort. Crusell's concerto, though very attractive, does not plumb any real depths and she plays it with great elan.
As to the rest, the most famous composer of clarinet music is Weber; and his Concertino, though still characteristic of the composer, is largely a showpiece. But the record as a whole is very engaging and shows Emma Johnson's qualities at their best, her youthful freshness expressed with the utmost skill. The recording is first rate.'