This recording forms part of a series of reissues celebrating the glorious Decca recordings from the 1950s-1970s of the Wiener Oktett (Vienna Octet), made up of key principals from the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.
Both Clarinet Quintets on this disc are late works of the respective composers and both were inspired by key clarinetists of their time: Mozart’s by Anton Stadler, Brahms’s by Richard Mühlfeld. Each of these versions represents the first recordings of these pieces by the Wiener Oktett, with Alfred Boskovsky, one of its members, as solo clarinetist. Heinrich Joseph Baermann was a soldier turned oboist turned clarinettist and is now remembered for a single work – an Adagio, published in 1926 as a work by Wagner. It was so described when this 1961 recording was first issued.
The Brahms and Mozart recordings here make their first appearance on Decca CD. This release is accompanied by extensive notes on the lineage of these pieces, a brief history of the evolution of clarinet playing and documentation on the musicians by renowned commentator Tully Potter.
BRAHMS: Clarinet Quintet
MOZART: Clarinet Quintet
Alfred Boskovsky, clarinet
Recording Producers: Victor Olof (Mozart); Erik Smith (Baermann); unidentified (Brahms)
Balance Engineers: James Brown (Baermann); unidentified (Mozart, Brahms)
Recording Locations: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, September 1954 (Mozart); Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria, April 1961 (Baermann); Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria, June 1953 (Brahms)
‘timelessly fresh – their sense of tradition lightly worn’ Gramophone
‘here is a winner ; the strings play, throughout, as beautifully as the clarinet’ (Brahms) Gramophone
‘Boskovsky’s performance is round-toned, fluent, musical, and without vibrato’ (Mozart) Gramophone