Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Danzi/Mendelssohn/Weber
WORKS: Clarinet Sonata in B flat; Clarinet Sonata in E flat; Grand Duo Concertant
PERFORMER: Charles Neidich (clarinet)Robert Levin (piano)
This collection of early 19th-century works for clarinet and piano is played on period instruments and comprises one piece which is very well known and two which are seldom heard. Mendelssohn’s Sonata, written in 1824 when the composer was 15, is a very dull work and the performers do it no favours by observing the long repeats in the outer movements, especially the first, which at over 11 minutes outstays its welcome. The Sonata by Danzi is a much more attractive piece and deserves to be heard more often, although it too is over-long. The Grand Duo Concertant by Weber, although chronologically the earliest of the three works (1816), is by far the most musically advanced and the only piece on the disc to have entered the general repertoire. Charles Neidich makes light of the technical deficiencies of the instrument and plays with great facility and excellent intonation. However, while the florid sections are generally very successful, his use of fast vibrato and grossly exaggerated rubato in the lyrical passages are out of place. There is also a considerable amount of obtrusive breath noise. Pianist Robert Levin plays with great clarity and the balance between the two is always well judged. Tim Payne