The clarinet's multi-faceted character is virtually unrivalled among orchestral instruments, its wheedling tones able to convey the most dramatic shifts of expression, from pious sobriety to almost comic insouciance.,/p>
Carl Maria von Weber took advantage of this unlimited scope in the quintet and two concertos written for his friend, the clarinet virtuoso Heinrich Baermann, and deftly recorded here by the young Swiss player Fabio di Càsola. He's particularly adept at the slower, subtler passages: the 1st Concerto's limpid Adagio are realised with dreamlike sensitivity, the clarinet floating weightlessly over the horn chorus, contrasting with the more jaunty, birdlike nimbleness of the ensuing Rondo. Likewise, the brooding Romanze is the standout section of the 2nd Concerto.
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