The notice that these two collections with Gervase de Peyer in his prime are available now with gorgeous remastering should be all that is necessary to send lovers of the clarinet out to grab copies for themselves and those near and dear. De Peyer, who was one of the London Symphony Orchestras first-chair stars in the 1950s, went out on his own more than 40 years ago, and was a founding member of both the Melos Ensemble in London and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. He remade the two Brahms sonatas for Chandos 20 years ago with Gwenneth Pryor, but these earlier performances with Daniel Barenboim are definitely more rewarding. They now come with the considerable bonus of the Beethoven Clarinet Trio (with Barenboim and Jacqueline du Pré) as well as the sonic update. The catalogue number looks like full price, but this is one of the outstanding gems in EMIs budget-priced Encore series.
In the same price category, De Peyers legendary account of the Mozart Concerto, conducted by the superb Mozartean Peter Maag, has been reissued in the very economical Australian Eloquence series, together with less familiar but utterly delightful concertos by Weber and Spohr, under Colin Davis. Pretty basic to any serious collection.
And, for a heartening indication of what is happening in the clarinet world today, Linn has brought out a stunning recital by the young Spanish virtuoso Maximiliano Martín, who just may be his generations De Peyer. He is partnered by his pianist compatriot Inocencio Negrín in an imaginative assortment of 20th-century "basic repertory" pieces and virtually unknown earlier bravura numbers. They are all set forth brilliantly, engagingly, and by no means superficially. Martín has the intellectual vitality as well as the chops to dig deep into the individual character of the respective pieces for his own fulfilling enjoyment and that of the fortunate listener. Exceptional sound, too. The HDCD-compatible CD layer is almost as breathtakingly realistic as the SACD layer.
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