ALBUM TITLE: New Era
WORKS: J Stamitz: Clarinet Concerto in B flat; C Stamitz: Clarinet Concerto No. 7 in E flat; Danzi: Concertino for Clarinet, Bassoon and Orchestra in B flat; Fantasy on ‘Là ci darem la mano’; Mozart: ‘Se viver non degg’io’, ‘Batti, batti, o bel Massetto’
PERFORMER: Andreas Ottensamer (clarinet); Kammerakademie Potsdam/ Albrecht Mayer
CATALOGUE NO: 481 4711
Johann Wenzel Stamitz and the later composer Franz Danzi were both important figures in the famous orchestra at the court of Mannheim – Stamitz as principal violinist, and Danzi as cellist – and it’s the legacy of that orchestra that forms the focus of Andreas Ottensamer’s new disc. Stamitz’s son Carl Philipp was, like his father, a prolific composer of orchestral music, but while Stamitz père composed only a single concerto for the new-fangled clarinet, Carl Philipp wrote no fewer than ten.
There are tinges of exoticism in a couple of moments near the start of the elder Stamitz’s concerto, but their promise isn’t really fulfilled in the remainder of the work, and the slow movement isn’t helped here by Ottensamer’s over-long cadenza, and by some rather plodding orchestral playing. No less formulaic is the concerto by Carl Philipp, but there’s more personality in the pieces by Danzi, which are marked by surprise switches of key, and by chromatic harmony. Ottensamer plays with admirable virtuosity throughout, but he has been recorded too closely to allow for much variation in tone-colour, and his ornamentation – to say nothing of the accelerando at the end of the Danzi Concertino – isn’t always in impeccable taste.