LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm
WORKS: Octet; Clarinet Quintet; Divertissement for Bassoon and String Quintet
PERFORMER: Charis Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: MDG L 3300
Jean Françaix composed his Octet for an ensemble which needed a companion piece for the Schubert Octet. He consequently dedicated the work to the memory of ‘my dear Franz’ and, as he explains in his epigrammatic tract in the booklet, he subsequently became ‘something of a repeat offender’ as regards his and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintets. It seems unlikely, at the very least, that the works by Françaix will ever approach the status accorded to their predecessors. This is not due just to the wearing effect of the incessant chirpiness of his music, or its lack of innovation. Rather, Françaix does not have an individual compositional voice.
Nevertheless, the works presented on this recording are imbued with his characteristic wit and charm. The Charis Ensemble proves to be an excellent advocate, producing sprightly readings. The clarinet of Diethelm Adorf does not always blend comfortably with the strings in the Clarinet Quintet, but elsewhere geniality is conveyed with glee. Christopher Dingle