No timbral difference separates this midprice reissue of one of the best-loved concertos by Mozart from its previous, full-priced equivalent. There's a bit more ambience and warmth and less stridency on top. If you own the original CD, there's no need to replace it, but first-time buyers should snap up these sensitive, stylish performances in their Great Recordings of the Century guise. One of the main attractions is the extended compass and deliciously "woody" tone of Sabine Meyer's basset clarinet. The clarinetist's fleet, effortless dispatch of the Clarinet Concerto's outer movements is a delight to the ear, and her improvised (or so they seem!) flourishes fit into their environment as if Mozart had written them himself.
The Finnish clarinettist Kari Kriikku is best known for his performances of contemporary works, many of them composed specifically to exploit his phenomenal virtuosity; his recording of Magnus Lindberg's Clarinet Concerto was one of the finest of the last year. But as this disc of Mozart and Molter with the Tapiola Sinfonietta shows, Kriikku is an equally impressive interpreter of the mainstream clarinet repertory. Like a number of soloists these days, he opts for a basset clarinet in his wonderfully fluid and constantly alert performance of the Mozart concerto, taking advantage of that instrument's extended lower register to restore the original shape of some of the solo lines. But there is not much he can do enliven the three routine concertos, by Johann Melchior Molter, which will be welcomed by clarinettists more than anyone else. The music leaves little impression, though Kriikku's performances on the high clarinet in D are technically impeccable.
… In 1983 the Grand Prix Academy Charles Cross was received in Paris for the recording of Martinů's Quartet Nos. 4 and 6. The Panocha Quartet places particular emphasis on Czech music especially the works of Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček and Martinů. Its extensive repertoire also included many Viennese classics, notably many of the quartets of Haydn…
One of a small handful of truly international wind players, Martin Fröst mesmerizes audiences throughout the world, whether performing concertos especially written for him or core repertoire such as the pieces presented here.