Review: Crusell Clarinet Bonanza


Virtuoso clarinetist Michael’s Collins’s brilliant new CD is a prize-winning classic-in-the-making.

This new Chandos release of the three Clarinet Concertos by the Swedish composer, Bernhard Henrik Crusell (1775 – 1838),  played and conducted by clarinet supremo Michael Collins, more than lives up to the accolades that have been showered on it over the past few weeks. These bravura early 19th Century showpieces bear a strong historic imprint of the Mannheim gallant school of the generation that preceded their creation.

Collins’s technical wizardry thrillingly makes light of the extreme challenges they pose in performance, effectively taking the lead against all rival contenders in the catalogue as the go-to recording for collectors to cherish alongside his bench-mark renderings of the Weber Clarinet Concertos, also available in the Chandos stable. The generous inclusion on the new disc of Crusell’s virtuoso Introduction et Air Suédois et Variations is a significant plus, affording further opportunities for the maestro to revel in the clarinet’s voluptuously expansive spectrum of ever-changing tonality throughout its huge range.

The Swedish Chamber Orchestra responds magnificently to every demand made on it throughout this 75-minute aural steeple-chase of a Super Audio Disc, which is captured in spine-tingling sonic clarity.

Don’t hesitate! This remarkable recording is available online from Amazon, or can be ordered locally by South African collectors through Classics4U.

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