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Brahms - Lesley Schatzberger and the Fitzwilliams - The Herald


17 February 2007
The Herald
Michael Tumelty
5 Stars

Even by the ambitious repertoire policies of Linn Records, this new disc, featuring the doyenne of clarinettists Lesley Schatzberger together with the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, is a bold enterprise.

At a time when the repertoire on CDs tends to be carefully bracketed and pigeonholed, the combination of a staple, in Brahms's Clarinet Quintet, with a classical unknown - the reconstruction of a Mozart movement abandoned by the composer - a real Romantic rarity by Glazunov and a new, modern work by Glasgow composer William Sweeney speaks of a freshness of imagination in the planning departments of both Linn and the artists themselves.

That freshness informs equally the performances, with a bright, immediate, forward-moving account of the Brahms that resists wallowing indulgence. There is a charming, poised and fascinating performance of the Mozart Quintet movement (completed by Duncan Druce), a ravishing version of the Borodin-flavoured Reverie Orientale by Glazunov, and a hypnotic and beautifully atmospheric performance of Bill Sweeney's An Òg-Mhadainn (The Young Morning) with its apparent duets staged over the upper and lower registers of the basset clarinet. Schatzberger's playing is so creamy you will melt away.


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