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Work

Louis Spohr

Louis Spohr Composer

Clarinet Concerto No.3 in F-, WoO 19

Performances: 2
Tracks: 4
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Musicology:
  • Clarinet Concerto No.3 in F-, WoO 19
    Key: F-
    Year: 1821
    Genre: Concerto
    Pr. Instrument: Clarinet
    • 1.Allegro moderato
    • 2.Adagio
    • 3.Rondo: Vivace non troppo
Although Spohr's four clarinet concertos are well-regarded—though not as highly esteemed as Weber's—the third in his series is felt to be the weakest of the lot. Here, the orchestral contribution is rudimentary and the work as a whole is less a matter of musical argument than of virtuoso display. Purely as a showpiece, however, it's quite effective. The Allegro moderato's stormy orchestral introduction quickly subsides into more reserved, expectant material with the low strings always providing an agitated undercurrent. The clarinet arrives, offers its own confident version of the tempestuous first theme, and then takes off with a fanciful treatment of the second. After a more straightforward restatement of the motifs, the soloist's part proves to be a series of trills, leaps, and runs whose relationship to the main theme is sometimes tenuous. There's no cadenza; the bulk of this flashy movement is like an accompanied cadenza with an occasional orchestral tutti. The broad Adagio casts the clarinet as a soprano in a tender opera aria in a technique familiar from Spohr's violin concertos. Eventually, the soloist repeats the long but straightforward melody, now ornamenting it with trills and fioritura. At the movement's midpoint, the orchestra revives long enough to present a stately theme that the clarinet decorates lavishly before seamlessly moving back to the original melody. The clarinet leads off the Vivace non troppo with a coy little tune over a subtle, stuttering accompaniment that hints at a waltz but rarely steps fully onto the dance floor. Although the orchestra regularly breaks in with agitated tutti passages, the clarinet maintains its serenity through most of the movement, which is a series of increasingly florid variations on the opening theme.

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