Trio di Clarone & Kalle Randalu at Wigmore Hall – Mendelssohn, Bruch & Schumann

Mendelssohn
Konzertstück No.2 in D minor, Op.114
Bruch
8 Pieces for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, Op.83 – Nos.2, 6 & 7 [transcribed]
Schumann
6 Studies in Canonic Form, Op.56 – Nos.2-5 [arranged Jost Michaels?]
Schumann
Fantasiestücke, Op.73
Mendelssohn
Konzertstück No.1 in D minor, Op.113

Trio di Clarone [Sabine Meyer (clarinet), Wolfgang Meyer (clarinet & basset horn), Reiner Wehle (basset horn)] with Kalle Randalu (piano)


Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood

Reviewed: 14 July, 2014
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Trio di Clarone. Photograph: www.triodiclarone.comThe Trio di Clarone is a family affair, a clarinet trio comprising Sabine Meyer, her brother Wolfgang and husband Reiner Wehle, who have enjoyed more than 30 years as a group. The trio was formed in part as a response to Mozart’s divertimentos written for basset horns, though in performance and on recordings they are often joined by pianist Kalle Randalu.

This invigorating BBC Lunchtime Concert at Wigmore Hall had as its bookends two late compositions by Mendelssohn for the unusual combination of clarinet, basset-horn and piano, both written for the father/son partnership of Heinrich and Carl Baermann. The bold opening of No.2 set the tone for an energetic performance, with wonderfully full-throated sounds from the lower register of Wolfgang’s basset-horn. The many notes assigned to the pianist found Randalu nicely clipped and detailed, and there was some lovely duetting between the wind instruments. The central Andante section was soft and songful, while the closing Presto featured some impressively athletic playing. The first Konzertstück begins in serious mood, in F minor, one of Mendelssohn’s ‘tragic’ keys. Sabine exhibited faultless control in the longer phrases, while Wolfgang again was in command of the fearfully difficult bass part. A lyrical central section led to a transition away from this relative darkness, the closing section a capricious delight.

In between these two charming pieces there were some attractive arrangements of works by Max Bruch and Robert Schumann. Three of the former composer’s Eight Pieces for clarinet, viola and piano worked well in these non-credited arrangements. The sombre First exploited Sabine’s beautiful tone, as did the lighter Second, while the burbling of the closing one was an open-air joy. The four Studies by Schumann belied their academic titles with tenderness and grace. The transcriptions were again not credited and are believed to be by Jost Michaels. Although Wehle, playing clarinet on this occasion, and Wolfgang were kept a distance apart by the canonic writing there was a close synchronicity to their ‘call and response’, Randalu supplying punctuation.

Sabine returned with Randalu to give a serene account of the three Fantasiestücke, arguably Schumann’s finest achievement for clarinet. The soft and distantly Romantic phrases were lovingly given, so too laid-back thoughts and spirals of happiness. As an encore we heard again the first section of the Second Konzertstück, effectively bringing the concert full-circle – this time the Presto was even more challenging for Wolfgang’s quick-fire accompaniment, much to the amusement of his sister!


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