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Weber's three pieces of chamber music make an attractive record, and the performances here are responsive to the works' particular problems. —
With the early Piano Quartet, the young virtuoso set... More…
Weber: Clarinet Quintet in B flat major, Op. 34, J182
IV. Rondo: Allegro giojoso
Weber: Trio in G minor for flute, cello & piano, Op. 63, J259
II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
III. Schäfers Klage: Andante espressivo
Weber: Piano Quartet in B flat major J76
Weber's three pieces of chamber music make an attractive record, and the performances here are responsive to the works' particular problems.
With the early Piano Quartet, the young virtuoso set himself some tricky tests, especially in the matter of balance. In the complicated middle section of the Adagio, for instance, there are leaping violin phrases, forte, against soft piano chords with a viola murmuring away to itself pianissimo in the middle.
It works well here. In Susan Tomes's hands, the Trio of the Minuet has a nice waltzing lilt and the finale blazes with energy. The players are willing to take liberties: though there is no warrant for the long accelerando in the finale of the Piano Trio, it is not the kind of thing Weber would have objected to, and both the pensive opening and the brooding melancholy of the 'Shepherd's Lament' are very much in the right spirit.
Richard Hosford is excellent in the Clarinet Quintet and is given a nice, clean acoustic for all the brilliant effects. There is, however, an oddity in the Adagio with the pairs of chromatic scales: the first, 'as loud as possible', is fine, but the second, pianissimo, is so quiet as to be barely audible, sounding as if it is drawn right away from the microphone. Hosford rounds it all off sensationally in the dazzling final pages. The only regret is that the players use the version, or something near it, prepared by the son of Weber's first performer, Heinrich Baermann.
Carl Baermann claimed that this was the performing tradition but the evidence is insecure, and there is a good modern edition that comes closer to what must have been Weber's intentions.
All the same, a very enjoyable disc.