6

Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Michael Collins: Works for Clarinet and Orchestra

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
English clarinetist Michael Collins is no stranger to Mozart's lone clarinet concerto, having provided Gramophone Magazine its critical selection of the same for several years in Clarinet Concertos: Mozart—Beethoven (Deutsche Grammophon, 2000), with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra (since unseated by equally fine performance on the 2010 Hyperion release from Thea King and the English Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Jeffrey Tate). Collins now emerges as a gifted soloist and conductor on Works for Clarinet and Orchestra. Collins directs the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, with whom he recorded his well-received Spohr concertos, in a survey of Mozart's concerto coupled with that of Aaron Copland and the contemporary Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin's "Ornamental Air," for basset clarinet and orchestra.

Collins (playing the prescribed basset clarinet) keeps his Mozart brisk but unhurried. His tone is sharp as citrus and precise as a timepiece. His modulations in the Allegro are fluid and sumptuous, characteristics telegraphed to the bright "Rondo. Allegro." The modern instrument Swedish Chamber Orchestra was well-primed for the concerto, responding to Collins' gentle direction and capturing the composer's pathos and ethos in the performance. Mozart was experiencing his final illness while composing the concerto for his friend, virtuoso Anton Stadler, and Collins manages to capture the mixed emotions of the music, particularly in the famous Adagio," which is played slowly and with majesty.

Collins' Copland is pastoral, with equal parts brains, brawn, and emotion. His tone is dryer than on the Mozart, an aural vision of a New England autumn. The concerto's second movement is modernism beyond Late Romantic, with Copland's trademark American touches. As if in a continuum, the premiere recording of Elena Kats-Chernin's "Orchestral Air" brings the state of clarinet performance into the now, at once looking back at a jazz and classical landscape while progressing forward into the new. The piece reveals sharp dynamics and plenty of complex drama. Collins sounds more than comfortable with the contemporary piece, capturing its whimsy and imagination.

Track Listing: Mozart: Clarinet Concerto, KV 622 in A Major; Copland: Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra, with Harp and Piano; Kats-Chernin: Ornamental Air for Basset Horn and Orchestra.

Personnel: Michael Collins: clarinet, basset clarinet, conductor; Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

Title: Works for Clarinet and Orchestra | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Chandos Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Luisa" CD/LP/Track Review Luisa
by Doug Collette
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Rags And Roots" CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Il Dodicesimo Nano" CD/LP/Track Review Il Dodicesimo Nano
by Jim Olin
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Unfamiliar Surroundings" CD/LP/Track Review Unfamiliar Surroundings
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2017
Read "Trip" CD/LP/Track Review Trip
by James Nadal
Published: August 1, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.