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Ries: Clarinet Trio & Sonatas

Ries: Clarinet Trio & Sonatas

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Ferdinand Ries may still be known almost exclusively to the musical world as Beethoven’s friend, pupil, secretary and first biographer, but Brilliant Classics have done much to broaden our understanding of this significant figure in the Vienna of the early 19th century with albums of his own compositions, notably his sonatas for violin, cello and flute and his Piano Quintet. In fact the Op.28 Clarinet Trio is one of Ries’s best-known pieces, as well it might be for the mellifluous appeal of its writing for all three instruments. While the top line may also be taken by violin, it belongs most harmoniously to the clarinet’s singing register and hardly suffers by comparison with Beethoven’s Op.11 Trio for the same combination ofinstruments. As grateful as the clarinet writing is the rippling piano part, which supports the other instruments with unfailingly genial warmth before coming to the fore in the finale with some virtuosic passagework as if to demonstrate that the pianist-composer could turn a trick or two himself. The two sonatas for clarinet and piano are much more Romantic-sounding, atmospherically evocative and forward-looking pieces. The Op.29 work begins with a passionately pleading slow introduction, which segues masterfully into a main Allegro of positively Schubertian vitality. After a brief but deeply felt slow movement, the finale mirrors the first movement’s form and intensifies the tempestuous, troubled expression of the sonata as a whole. The E flat major Sonata Op.129 is all sunshine compared to Op.29’s storm and thunder: a delight from start to finish, inflected by the kind of Italianate drama and cantabile that began to make its mark on German and Austrian composers in the 1810s and 20s, most notably in the clarinet writing of Carl Maria von Weber. As one of Belgium’s foremost clarinettists, Vlad Weverbergh has his own big band and klezmer group, but he is also a member of I Solisti del Vento, the wind ensemble uniting the finest Belgian wind players. He has made a speciality of reviving, performing and recording lesser-known treasures of the clarinet repertoire, as well as collecting and playing instruments from the rich history of the clarinet, such as the unusual clarinetto d’amore which he uses on this recording.

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Brilliant Classics
    • UPC/Barcode: 5028421969039
    • Item Number: BRI96903