Brahms - Lesley Schatzberger and the Fitzwilliams - The Herald

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.

The Herald
17 February 2007