Carl Maria Von Weber's second clarinet concerto is widely regarded as one of the great classics of the instrument, since most serious players of the instrument attempt its performance. The first movement is the Allegro, and throughout its duration, the solo clarinet part is superbly calculated to show off the capabilities of the soloist and the range and diversity of the clarinet.
In the second movement, Andante con moto, the clarinet announces the main theme, and indeed has most of the melodic material throughout the movement, with occasional soulful interjection from the strings or woodwind - the brass being silent throughout. The finale, Alla Polacca, is in the rhythm of a Polish dance, a style particularly favoured by composers of the early 19C. The clarinet, once again, opens the movement with the main rondo theme, a tune "of considerable rhythmic ingenuity".
Just before the end, the orchestra (after chiming in and out intermittently, during the movement's duration) bursts in joyfully with the main tune, "double forte", as if it had been awaiting just that opportunity throughout the whole movement. Throughout the concerto, Weber is intent on demonstrating the "wide compass and tonal variety" of the clarinet.
Side One : Carl Maria Von Weber's Clarinet Concerto no.2 in E flat, Op.74 :-
1) Allegro 2) Andante con moto 3) Alla Polacca
Louis Spohr's first Clarinet Concerto was composed in the winter of 1808-09, when he was director of the Duke of Gotha's court orchetsra. Spohr, an accomplished violinist, conductor and composer, could write for an orchestra with assurance that all his effects would come off in performance.
Spohr had his own ideas on concerto form, probably due to the fact that he had already written several fine violin concertos, by the time of writing Clarinet Concerto No.1 It opens with a short Adagio, in which the oboe announces the main theme of the movement. After fourteen bars , the Allegro takes over, with violins taking up the main theme. Spohr brings in his solo clarinet in at the ninth bar, and from there on it is rarely silent.
The second movement is largely a solo for the clarinet, accompanied by solo violins and cello. In this Adagio, Spohr manages to control any urge towards excessive chromaticism, and the result is a gentle elegy.
Spohr's own words can adequately describe the third movement, Rondo-Vivace, which he wrote as "a Spanish Rondo, the melodies of which were not mine, but genuine Spanish. I heard them from a Spanish soldier who was quartered in my house and who sang to the guitar. I noted down what pleased me and worked it into my Rondo. In order to give this a more Spanish flavour, I copied the guitar-accompaniment as I heard it from the Spaniard, into the orchestral part" (from Spohr's autobiography).
Side Two : Louis Spohr's Clarinet Concerto No.1 in C minor, Op.26 :-
1) Adagio - Allegro 2) Adagio 3) Rondo - vivace
Records graded visually to RRPG grades (record/sleeve) VG+/EX.