The German clarinetist Andreas Ottensamer, principal clarinetist of the Berlin Philharmonic, has made a splash with intelligently programmed recitals executed with technical polish. Here the program doesn't hold together quite as well: you get a live Weber Clarinet Concerto No. 1, Op. 73, paired with a studio recording of clarinet-and-piano pieces, mostly transcriptions, by Weber, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. The concerto, however, is well worth the price of admission as Ottensamer navigates the weaving of the solo clarinet with the other winds in the gorgeous slow movement; working with other musicians he knows well, he produces what is probably the optimal version of this movement, and his playing in the outer movements is gentle and elegant as well. He gets excellent support from Mariss Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic, who don't get much visibility in the graphics. Pianist Yuja Wang, here in an unusual accompanimental role, is typically lively in the smaller works. There are a lot of Mendelssohn's Songs without Words interspersed with more serious pieces, and the recital has a light flavor overall. The sound in the Weber Concerto has the requisite clarity, and this version can stand with any other the others on the market. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor Op. 73|
|Grand Duo Concertant for Clarinet and Piano in E flat major Op. 48|