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COMPOSERS: Hummel/Weber
WORKS: Clarinet Quartet
PERFORMER: Alan Hacker (clarinet)The Music Party
CATALOGUE NO: 444 167-2 ADD (1973/80)
These stylish performances by Alan Hacker and the Music Party make a welcome return to the catalogue. Hummel’s Clarinet Quartet is excellently judged, with appropriately boisterous vitality in the second movement (‘La seccatura’), and beautifully poised cantabile in the slow movement. Their account of Weber’s flamboyant Clarinet Quintet is equally attractive. Here, Hacker’s sparkling virtuosity is sensitively matched by well-balanced, incisive playing from the strings to produce a potent mixture of exuberance and – in response to the slow movement’s fantasy character – engagingly spontaneous, expressive lyricism. Despite some hiss, the still fresh recordings create good presence for this group’s period instruments. Nicholas Rast