Collection: The Victorian Clarinet Tradition

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COMPOSERS: Ashton & German,CH Lloyd,Lazarus,Macfarren,O Goldschmidt,Prout
LABELS: Clarinet Classics
WORKS: Works by Lazarus, Macfarren, Prout, CH Lloyd, O Goldschmidt, Ashton & German
PERFORMER: Colin Bradbury (clarinet), Oliver Davies (piano), Elaine Barry (soprano)


This latest issue on the enterprising Clarinet Classics label should be of interest to all lovers of fine clarinet playing. Colin Bradbury, formerly principal in the BBC Symphony Orchestra, displays liquid tone, evenly produced throughout the range of the instrument, perfectly turned phrasing, and the kind of effortless technique which takes in its stride the difficulties of such things as the variations on ‘Ye banks and braes’ by the Victorian clarinet virtuoso Henry Lazarus.


But even Bradbury and his equally assured partner Oliver Davies are hard put to make much of the Mendelssohnian Sonata by the theorist and editor Ebenezer Prout, or Macfarren’s celebration of the Shakespeare tercentenary in 1864, a rather limp sequence of songs referred to in the plays. There is more pleasure to be had from miniatures like Charles Harford Lloyd’s charming ‘Bon voyage!’, Edward German’s tuneful Romance, or Macfarren’s Two Songs. In these, Elaine Barry sings with sweet tone, but she is not well served by being placed at a distance in the otherwise clear recording, nor by the omission of texts from the otherwise excellent booklet notes. Anthony Burton