Siegfried Kurz / Otmar Suitner / Staatskapelle Dresden

Mozart: Klarinettenkonzert; Sinfonia Concertante

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Mozart: Klarinettenkonzert; Sinfonia Concertante Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, by far his most popular and frequently performed concerto for a wind instrument, has been given many exemplary performances by the likes of Richard Stoltzman, Sabine Meyer, and David Shifrin to name but a few. Two of the many characteristics that mark these performances for greatness are vibrant energy and beauty of tone. Clarinetist Oskar Michallik, in the present recording with the Staatskapelle Dresden, seemingly lacks both of these traits. Energy is severely lacking; the first movement is tediously metronomic. The orchestra only makes matters worse here, playing even the tuttis with long, legato bow strokes that only drag the energy down further. The ethereal second movement sounds labored and forced, the necessary silken tone totally absent. Like the first movement, the finale is ponderously rigid and staid. Also on this album is the K. 297b Sinfonia Concertante for wind quartet and orchestra. Staatskapelle Dresden, this time lead by Otmar Suitner, is far more vivacious than in the clarinet concerto. The four soloists also possess an overall more appealing sound quality and lightness of approach than Michallik in the concerto.

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