Unknown Classical Clarinet Sonatas - Luigi Magistrelli



Xavier LEFEVRE : Clarinet Sonata in B-Flat Major, Op. 12, No. 3 – Samuel Friedrich HEINE : Sonata in B-Flat Major – François BAISSIÈRE : Sonata for A Clarinet and Piano, Op. 3, No. 1 – Paul Friedrich STRUCK : Gran Duo, Op. 7 – Carl ARNOLD : Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 7.

Luigi Magistrelli, Clarinet – Chiara Nicola, Piano – Elisabetta Soresina, Cello.

The classical period was quite important for the development of the clarinet. The instrument had five or six keys and was still a bit limited but the composers increased a lot their interest about this flexible wind instrument so rich of colors and some virtuoso players could be able to perform demanding pieces.

In this period the clarinet repertoire started to develop and to have quite a good number of nice Sonatas written for this instrument. Gaetano Sciroli wrote the first Sonata for clarinet and bass around 1770 and then other classical composers such as J.B. Wanhal (three Sonatas), F. Devienne (three Sonatas), A. Eberl (one Sonata, for the first time using a keyboard part) and F. A. Hoffmeister (six Sonatas with piano), dedicated their efforts for this aim. The Swiss-French clarinetist Xavier Lefevre put in his Method (written in 1801) twelve Clarinet Sonatas for C clarinet and bass basically for didactical purposes, some of them are quite demanding and could be well performed in front of an audience.The same composer, who also was the inventor of the sixth key of the clarinet (added by the parisian clarinet maker J. Baumann), conceived three more beautiful Sonatas for clarinet and bass, in this case using the b flat clarinet with bass, to be played by a cello, viola, bassoon or to be realised by a keyboard instrument, as we made in this recording.

I decided to choose the Sonata No. 3, written in the typical classical style, full of nice thematic themes with some demanding clarinet technical parts. The other Sonatas presented in this Cd and never recorded before had been written by almost unknown composers, hardly heard and performed. Nonetheless they are published and available.

Samuel Friedrich Heine was a flutist, appointed at the Schwerin court orchestra in Ludwigslust from 1788 till 1809. Actually he was not very well judged in that role, being noted for having a poor sound. He was much more successful as a composer receiving appraisals and good reviews for his works. The list of his compositions includes symphonies, choral works, flute duets, two flute concertos, two oboe concertos, this clarinet Sonata and many songs. This Sonata could have been published before 1805, so it can be considered one ofthe first clarinet classical Sonatas. It is preserved at the Statsbiblioteket of Aarhus, Denmark.

The Baissière Sonata is the first of the Six Sonatas for C clarinet and bass published by Decombe in Paris in the early 19th century. This early edition of the Sonatas is preserved in the same danish library above cited. We don’t have many information about him. According to Fetis Francois Baissière was a clarinettist and music teacher at Rheims. He might be associated to the name of Fabre Baissière, who published a clarinet Method published by Schenenberger c. 1830. Fetis also listed some compositions of his including the Six Clarinet Sonatas op 3, an Air Varié, 36 Caprices, and some variations for clarinet and strings, published by Janet (1801-1825).This sonata has been recorded in the transposed version for b flat and piano and I thought, like in the case of the Lefevre Sonata, to add a cello in order to reinforce the original bass part, giving a better timbre to the accompaniment.

Paul Struck was also a minor and almost totally unknown classical composer. He studied in Berlin with J. G. Albrechtberger from 1792 and then with F. J. Haydn in Vienna. He was a conductor for the Haydn’s Schoepfung in Stockholm in 1801. He taught piano in Vienna and lived in Pressburg from 1817 till his death in 1820. He composed some vocal compositions, some symphonies (lost) and chamber music including one more clarinet work, the Quartet op 12 for clarinet and strings, pieces for piano and a Trio for piano, violin and cello. The Grand Duo op 7 (Sonata) published in 1804 was intended for clarinet or violin. It is quite well conceived in four movements with lovely themes, brilliant mood and lyrical situations.

Karl Arnold was a classical Norvegian pianist with German origins who was active in Russia, Germany and Norway. He studied piano with Aloys Schmitt and Music Theory with Johann Anton André. He conducted from 1849 to 1863 the orchestra “Det Philharmonicke Selskab” of Christiania (today Oslo). He was also an organist and a composer, writing an opera, a piano concerto and a symphony. His Clarinet (or flute or cello) Sonata, written in 1814, was one of the first examples of Sonatas (also Hoffmeister wrote a Sonata for A clarinet) destined to an A clarinet. In the Adagio we can mention a short citation from the Mozart Clarinet Concerto K 622. Here we have a representation of the late classical style with a thick and virtuosic piano writing and less demanding but still interesting and brilliant clarinet part. The clarinet sonatas here recorded for the first time are not masterpieces but however could deserve some consideration for their peculiar and idiomatic writing and are worthy to be added to the classical clarinet repertoire.

Luigi Magistrelli

CHF 19.50

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