Classical reviews: British clarinet concertos, Catoire/Sherwood and Dvorak


Michael Collins, Clarinet

BBC Symphony Orchestra Chandos 10739

Rating: 4/5

This new release by British clarinetist Michael Collins introduces three clarinet concertos that deserve to be in the standard concert repertoire, alongside Mozart's indestructible classic.

Charles Villiers Stanford's Concerto Op. 80 (1902) was originally conceived for the German Richard Muhlfeld, who had earlier premiered Brahms' late Clarinet Sonatas and Quintet.

Gerald Finzi's Concerto (1948-49), the most substantial work, has claims to be one of the great 20th-century clarinet concertos, even if its influences are also strongly Romantic. The three movements are the summation of the art itself: passion and drama in the first, romance for the central Adagio, with humour and wit lighting up the Rondo finale.

Collins' committed advocacy and virtuosity make these works mandatory listening for all wind enthusiasts.

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