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.
Bohemian composer Leopold Kozeluch earned himself a negative historical reputation by putting himself forth as a rival to Haydn and Mozart; badmouthing the former to the latter, he received the retort that "even if you were to put the two of us together, you would still not produce a Haydn!" German clarinetist Dieter Klöcker, an indefatigable investigator of the context that surrounded the mighty Viennese trinity, sets out here to rescue Kozeluch from obscurity with performances of a trio of highly idiomatic clarinet pieces. It's hard to disagree with a newspaper critic of the day, quoted in Klöcker's excellent notes, who wrote that Kozeluch showed "great imaginative boldness" but too often offered "mere copies of ordinary life" that were "prettily dressed up like a young woman trying to please her admirers by means of flowers and ribbons."
Writing in 29:4 about the Hagen’s fine CD accounts of Beethoven Quartets Nos. 12 and 15, I noted two salient features of its approach: a sonority that in its freedom from lushness and excessive vibrato echoes (without duplicating) “period” sonority; and a style suggestive of how the music is far closer to the composer’s middle period than we often think. In a similar vein, this is a tough, aggressive No. 16, yet one tempered by delicacy where apt and projected with sensitivity to the music’s pointed humor—a performance style that one probably was not likely to encounter 50 years ago. And fine though the Beethoven is, the Mozart may be even better, as commanding and sensitive account of the work as I have ever heard. For one thing, Sabine Meyer is superb, a true virtuoso who is capable of rendering the music’s gentler moments with a tender delicacy that is as arresting as her rapidly articulated runs in which every note is given its clearly articulated due.
… 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…