Nielsen & Aho - Clarinet Concertos


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Nielsen & Aho - Clarinet Concertos


Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2007

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - July 2007



Catalogue No:




Release date:

2nd April 2007




53 minutes


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Nielsen & Aho - Clarinet Concertos


Clarinet Concerto


Clarinet Concerto Op. 57 (FS129)


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Carl Nielsen: Clarinet Concerto, Op. 57, FS 129

Allegretto un poco

Poco adagio

Allegro non troppo - Adagio - Allegro vivace

Kalevi Aho: Clarinet Concerto

I. Tempestoso

II. Cadenza: Tranquillo

III. Vivace con brio

IV. Adagio mesto

V. Epilogo: Misterioso

BBC Music Magazine

July 2007


“Those who cherish earlier versions of Neilsen's masterpiece… will know how deep this music runs and how haunting it is. The young Swedish clarinettist give what I must say is the most searching and gripping performance of all, and reveals qualities of imagination and insight that make you listen with new ears. Kalevi Aho's... 2005 concerto was written for Martin Fröst... It strikes me as one of his finest pieces, immediate in its appeal and full of compelling musical incident and a dazzling virtuosity that Fröst takes effortlessly in his stride.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“Kalevi Aho's Concerto starts arrestingly but without a trace of the attention-seeking that afflicts certain other clarinet concertos of recent times. There is something in Aho's five continuous movements that recalls Nielsen's directness and free-flowing succession of ideas, and the cadenza that forms the second movement even brings momentary echoes of Nielsen's uncompromising skirls and flourishes.
But the Finn's sights are set more on the starkly elemental than on the quirkily personal.
For Aho the Vivace con brio third movement is the 'centre and culmination', and it is certainly exuberant – dangerous, even – in its restless virtuosity, rather like Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel driven mad by inner demons. After this a sad slow movement brings sober reflection, and an Epilogue concludes the work on a note of mystery.
There can have been few equally impressive head-on engagements with the concerto medium in recent years.
There are eight or so modern accounts of the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto in the catalogue.
Most have fine qualities. Yet for sureness of idiomatic touch none dislodges Ib Erikson's classic 1954 Danish accounts (now available on Dutton Labs).
Closer to the mark than any modern rivals is this new issue from Martin Fröst, the clarinettist of the moment for all-round artistry allied to adventurous approach to repertoire. He seems to have Nielsen's irascible masterpiece in his bloodstream, as surely as he has its technical contortions under his fingers. Vänskä ensures that the Lahti players are never fazed by the exposed edges in the accompaniment, and only the very drawn-out final bars come across as slightly self-conscious. Detail for detail, phrase for phrase, this team takes the palm over the old Danish recording, even before considering BIS's immeasurably superior sound quality.
Even so, Erikson and Wöldike remain a benchmark for insight into the character of the piece.
In sum, a CD of rare distinction.”

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