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Bruch, Mozart, Schumann & Stravinsky: Clarinet Trios

Bruch, Mozart, Schumann & Stravinsky: Clarinet Trios

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As core members of the ensemble Wigmore Soloists, Michael Collins, Isabelle van Keulen and Michael McHale present four works for clarinet trio composed over a period of some 130 years. Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio was long believed to have been composed during a game of bowling. The writing is reminiscent of a conversation between three friends in which contrasts are not excluded: we hear affection, divergences and even disagreements. This atmosphere of friendly, playful, and sometimes very intimate exchange also pervades Schumann’s Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales). While its spirited conviviality might give the impression that this work was the product of idyllic times, it was actually composed during Schumann’s last full year of sanity before his final mental collapse in 1854. There is a similar atmosphere of warm intimacy in Max Bruch’s Eight Pieces, written in 1910. Four of them are presented here, giving not a single hint of the approaching First World War. Based on a Russian folk tale, Stravinsky’s stage work L’Histoire du Soldat may be less good-natured than the preceding works. But the music is wonderfully entertaining, borrowing from various genres, including jazz. The composer’s trio version consist of five movements and has deservedly become his most frequently performed chamber composition.


As expected, the performances are excellent. The Mozart is wonderfully lyrical; the Stravinsky crackles with energy; and the Schumann and the Bruch have the intensity and heartfelt phrasing the composers require. Collins leads with his clear and resonant timbre, dazzling fingers and articulation, and superb musicianship; and McHale lends splendid tone, touch, technique, and sensitivity. Van Keulen demonstrates terrific versatility all through, from warm contralto utterances to spunky fiddle playing, though sometimes her viola lines are a little thin and scrappy. Even so, the profound devotion to each score makes this album very worthwhile.

-- American Record Guide

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Product Description:

  • Release Date: November 04, 2022

  • UPC: 7318599925356

  • Catalog Number: BIS-2535

  • Label: BIS

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Classical, Romantic, 20th Century

  • Composer: Max Bruch, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Robert Schumann, Igor Stravinsky

  • Performer: Michael Collins, Isabelle van Keulen, Michael McHale