Composer(s):Carl Maria von Weber
Conductor: Günther Herbig
Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Catalog #: DCO-79551
Time: 50 min
SPARS Code: DDD
Paul Meyer gives fresh, spirited performances of Weber's three works for clarinet and orchestra, which fit comfortably on to a single disc as in other couplings (including those listed above). He has nimble fingers and a bright, silvery tone that indicates his French training (was it at his insistence that the Royal Philharmonic horns assume a strong vibrato on the last chords of the First Concerto's opening movement?). He also knows the works very thoroughly, which is to say that he does not merely despatch his own part with proper virtuosity and sensitivity: he understands the nature of the music and its structure, so in the Rondo Allegretto finale of No. 1 he can seem personally to force the key down from B flat to G flat, and in the Alla Polacca finale of No. 2 listen and respond to the various orchestral solos (including the brief cello solo, often, but not here, overlooked by engineers). He and Gunther Herbig are on the whole close, though there are times when Meyer seems to be forcing the brilliance beyond Herbig's natural inclinations.
The note describes in some detail Weber's relationship with his favoured clarinettist Heinrich Bdrmann, for whom the works were written, without mentioning that the versions played (with a few minor alterations) are those of Bdrmann's son and grandson, both named Carl Barmann. The differences are quite marked, though they do not seriously work against the spirit of the music; but it ought to be declared what is being played. Those with Eulenburg miniature scores will find little to surprise them; the original versions have been edited by Pamela Weston for Fentone Music, and include good and thorough forewords. J.W.