The Clarinotts perform works by Druschetzy, Denisov, Mozart, Ploy, Prinz & J Strauss II

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COMPOSERS: Denisov,Druschetzy,Mozart,Ploy,Prinz & J Strauss II
LABELS: Gramola
ALBUM TITLE: The Clarinotts
WORKS: Works by Druschetzy, Denisov, Mozart, Ploy, Prinz & J Strauss II
PERFORMER: The Clarinotts
CATALOGUE NO: 98874

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The Clarinotts are the two Ottensamer brothers, principal clarinettists of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, and their father Ernst, another Vienna Philharmonic principal, who died in July. With Ernst sometimes switching to the tenor-register basset horn, they play a suite of neatly arranged numbers from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, a Trio by the Romantic composer Joseph Friedrich Hummel in the style of his earlier namesake, and a set of eight short, crisp movements by the prolific Georg Druschetzky. There’s also an imaginative Scherzo fantastique by the late Vienna Philharmonic clarinettist Alfred Prinz, and Denisov’s Two Pieces for Three Instruments, which meld uniform sonorities into cluster chords and thickened lines, a ragtime-tinged vignette by one Henry Ploy and a suite arranged from Strauss’s Die Fledermaus

It’s all fairly inconsequential stuff, but played with impeccable technical mastery, albeit in generally bleached tones, favouring the upper partials, which pall in an antiseptic acoustic. The disc would make a good gift to a young clarinettist as model for technique and encouragement to explore the pleasures of ensemble playing. And it’s an appropriate memorial to Ernst Ottensamer, founder of an impressive ‘royal family of the clarinet’. 

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Anthony Burton