BRITISH CLARINET CONCERTOS Vol. 1 Stanford. Finzi, Arnold. Michael Collins, BBC Symphony Orchestra / Michael Collins. Chandos

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British Clarinet Concertos Vol 1 Symphony Orchestra Michael Collins Chandos

BRITISH CLARINET CONCERTOS , VOL. 1

Gerald Finzi (1901-1956):

Clarinet Concerto, Op. 31 / Five Bagatelles, Op. 23a

Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006):

Clarinet Concerto No. 2, Op. 115

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924):

Clarinet Concerto, Op. 80

Michael Collins (clarinet)

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Michael Collins

This disc marks the beginning of a new survey of British Clarinet Concertos, featuring the exclusive Chandos artist, Michael Collins, who here combines the role of clarinet soloist and conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

The series will run parallel with Collins’s ongoing series of British Clarinet Sonatas.

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford wrote extensively for the clarinet. His works include the Sonata, recorded by Michael Collins on CHAN 10704 (and very favourably reviewed in BBC Music, see below), and the Concerto recorded here, which, coincidentally, was the first for the instrument to be composed by a major British composer. This concerto boasts an exuberantly virtuosic solo part, accompanied by an orchestra excluding clarinets, but including a brass section of four horns and two trumpets.

Born in London, to parents of Italian and German Jewish descent, Gerald Finzi nevertheless became one of the most characteristically ‘English’ composers of his generation. His Five Bagatelles, combining brilliant display, quiet contemplation, and warm lyrical qualities, were written over several years, and finally completed during World War II in free moments snatched from his work at the Ministry of War Transport.

The Clarinet Concerto by Finzi was performed by a young Michael Collins in the final of the first BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, in 1978. The work conjures a sense of fresh spontaneity, as it moves through baroque-inspired pastoralism, Elgarian influences, and lively folk-inspired melody.

The virtuosic Clarinet Concerto No. 2 by Sir Malcolm Arnold bears the dedication: ‘for Benny Goodman with admiration and love’. It had been commissioned three years earlier by the celebrated American jazz clarinettist, who had also established a reputation as a classical performer.

Chandos Records CHAN10739

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