Mozart - Spohr Clarinet Concertos

25 January 2010, 14:37 | Updated: 28 February 2013, 10:58

Clarinetist Jon Manasse accompanied by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra add vibrato to Mozart and Spohr's Clarinet Concertos

Composer: Mozart, Spohr
Repertoire: Clarinet Concertos 
Artists: Jon Manasse (clarinet), Seattle Symphony Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz
Rating:  4.5/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: Harmonia Mundi HMU 907516

If you’ve had enough (as I pretty much have) of desiccated, vibrato-less Mozart performances, either on period instruments or imitating them, then here is a likeable and welcome antidote. Jon Manasse’s clarinet tone is creamy but not too much so, and his phrasing is supple, poised and graceful. How good to hear the music’s loveliness being allowed to speak so directly, by soloist and orchestra alike. The second of Louis Spohr’s four clarinet concertos isn’t in the same class as Mozart’s only one. But it’s an engaging work for all that, and allows Manasse to display some ear-catching virtuosity.