The Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27.01.1756 – 05.12.1791) was, during his short lifetime, one of the most prolific composers of the classical era. He showed prodigious ability from an early age. Already competent as a pianist and violinist, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. Mozart went on to compose more than 600 works, many of which are acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music.
In 1781, Mozart moved away from Salzburg to the musically more sophisticated Vienna, where he was a freelance composer, pianist and teacher. From the outset, in Vienna, he enjoyed considerable success, particularly as a pianist performing his own concertos and with his early comic opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782). During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and began the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of his early death.
Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, K622 was written in the autumn of 1791 for the clarinettist Anton Stadler and was Mozart’s last great instrumental composition. The clarinet was a relatively new instrument at the time and it is perhaps fortunate that Stadler was both a fine player and a good friend of Mozart. Otherwise we may never have come to hear this work that has become one of the best loved pieces in all of classical music. This seemingly simple work represents the culmination of Mozart’s achievements as a true master of the concerto form. The work produces no great surprises, or shocks, and has a melodic charm which together with its perfect structure make it a surefire winner.
Our recommended recording was released in 1996 and combines Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, K622 with his Clarinet Quintet in A major, K581 in performances by the late Jack Brymer.
Jack Brymer was one of the finest clarinettists of the late twentieth century. His professional career started when Sir Thomas Beecham appointed him principal clarinet of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. During his later career Jack Brymer was in extensive demand as a soloist in concertos, chamber music and recitals. He seemed to exude an innate musicality and produced a wonderfully rich sound on his instrument as you will hear on this fine recording.
For the concerto Brymer performs alongside the London Symphony Orchestra under their longest-serving principal conductor, Sir Colin Davis. Davis was internationally renowned for his interpretations of Mozart, Sibelius and Berlioz. Furthermore Davis had an affinity for the clarinet having been a clarinettist within the Household Cavalry and is thus a most suitable partner for Jack Brymer in this work.