Is it possible to have too many recordings of Beethoven's clarinet trios? Only if one hates the clarinet's rich, warm tone; smooth, sweet action; and graceful agility. But for those listeners who recall that the clarinet was most composers' preferred woodwind instrument -- compare the deep beauty of Mozart's clarinet quintet with the shallow prettiness of his flute quartets -- the very idea of hating the clarinet is incomprehensible, and thus the idea of coupling Beethoven two clarinet trios is irresistible. And so it proves on this Fuga Libera disc by Ensemble Kheops. Featuring clarinetist Ronald van Spaendonck, cellist Marie Hallynck, and pianist Muhiddin Dürrüoglu, the Belgian group plays with an ease and naturalness that ideally suit the music. Beethoven's Clarinet Trios, Op. 11, written directly for the ensemble, and Opus 38, an arrangement by the composer of the Septet, Op. 20, were written to entertain, and their combination of instantly appealing melodies, affectionate harmonies, buoyant rhythms, and witty settings requires just the sort of effortless virtuosity and affectionate charm that the Ensemble Kheops brings to the music. Recorded in clear, natural sound by Fuga Libera, this disc will undoubtedly delight fans of the clarinet no matter how many recordings of these works they have.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Trio for clarinet (or violin), cello & piano No. 4 in B flat major ("Gassenhauer"), Op. 11|
|Trio for piano, clarinet (or violin) & cello in E flat major (arr. of septet, Op. 20), Op. 38|