Andreas Jakob Romberg
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 57
Clarinet Quintet in E Flat minor, Op 102
Charles Villiers Stanford
Fantasy for Clarinet & String Quartet #1 in G minor
Fantasy for Clarinet & String Quartet #2 in F Major
Thea King, clarinet
Britten String Quartet
Hyperion Helios CDH55076
For lovers of the magnificent Brahms Clarinet Quintet, this recording of the Fuchs Clarinet Quintet will be a special treat.
Robert Fuchs was known during his lifetime primarily as a teacher: some of his students were Mahler, Schreker, Sibelius, and Zemlinsky. He was also known for writing easily accessible and popular Serenades, and his nickname was "Serenading Fox", a pun on his name.
The Fuchs Clarinet Quintet has memorable melodies, wonderful string and clarinet writing, and it is a pleasure from beginning to end. Special mention must be made of the catchy and charming second movement scherzo.
Once you fall under the spell of Fuchs, you might want to seek out his other orchestral and chamber music. Thorofon has recorded much of his chamber music and two volumes of orchestral works and MD&G have also recorded String Quartets by Fuchs.
The other pieces on this Helios disc are also beautifully performed by King and the Britten Quartet (Peter Manning, violin; Keith Pascoe, violin/viola; Peter Lale, viola; Andrew Shulman, cello) and will provide hours of delight.
I am very grateful to the late Thea King (1925-2007) not only for her expressive musicianship and extensive contributions to the recorded clarinet literature, but also for her exploration of lesser-known composers of the 19th and 20th century and support via commissions for contemporary composers.