Brahms & Reinecke: Works for Clarinet & Piano Michael Collins & Michael McHale
- Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897): Clarinet Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120 No. 1:
- 1Clarinet Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120 No. 1: I. Allegro appassionato07:56
- 2Clarinet Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120 No. 1: II. Andante un poco adagio04:57
- 3Clarinet Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120 No. 1: III. Allegretto grazioso04:03
- 4Clarinet Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120 No. 1: IV. Vivace04:56
- Clarinet Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 120 No. 2:
- 5Clarinet Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 120 No. 2: I. Allegro amabile08:00
- 6Clarinet Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 120 No. 2: II. Allegro appassionato05:01
- 7Clarinet Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 120 No. 2: III. Andante con moto - Allegro07:21
- Carl Reinecke (1824 - 1910): Sonata Undine, Op. 167:
- 8Sonata Undine, Op. 167: I. Allegro06:43
- 9Sonata Undine, Op. 167: II. Intermezzo. Allegretto vivace03:26
- 10Sonata Undine, Op. 167: III. Andante tranquillo03:44
- 11Sonata Undine, Op. 167: IV. Finale. Allegro molto agitato ed appassionato05:53
- Carl Reinecke:
- 12Introduzione ed Allegro appassionato, Op. 25607:46
Info for Brahms & Reinecke: Works for Clarinet & Piano
On this album, Michael Collins performs Brahms’s and Reinecke’s clarinet sonatas with the pianist Michael McHale. Their collaboration on Chandos has been successful, from their Lyrical Clarinet album – which received five stars from BBC Music (performance and recording) – to their two acclaimed volumes of British Sonatas, a ‘self-recommending Chandos series’ (Musicweb-international.com).
The two clarinet sonatas were written after Brahms had declared that his compositional career was at an end. He dedicated them to the clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld, whom he much admired. Even if the composer described them as ‘two modest sonatas with piano’, these are works of moving and dramatic intensity, with both the first movement of the F minor and the central Scherzo of the E flat Sonata marked Allegro appassionato. Michael Musgrave (a Brahms specialist) indeed associates the F minor key of No. 1, so often used by Brahms, with ‘passionate, rhetorical expression and formal adventure’; lyrical expressivity is most evident in the serene music of the first movement of No. 2. The latter is unconventionally in three movements, each in the tonic key, and this tonal planning unfolds as a single, continuous, and circular design.
Brahms’s works were devotedly promoted by the composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher Carl Reinecke, whose prodigious output has not fared as well as the music of Brahms, though the chamber music has perhaps proved relatively more durable. Both the Sonata Undine, originally written for flute and piano, and Op. 256 refer to works by Schumann, respectively Kreisleriana and the Concertstück, Op. 92 for piano and orchestra, also known as ‘Introduction and Allegro appassionato’.
Michael Collins, clarinet
Michael McHale, piano
is one of the most complete musicians of his generation. With a continuing, distinguished career as a soloist, he has in recent years also become highly regarded as a conductor and in 2010 took the position of Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia. Recent guest conducting and play-directing highlights have included engagements with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Ulster Orchestra, and the HPAC Orchestra in Kyoto, Japan.
This season Michael will also conduct and perform wth the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a studio concert and work with the Kymi Sinfonietta and Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra for play-direct programmes. He also and makes his debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, playing and directing a programme of Mozart, Weber and Rossini. As a soloist, he will work with the Charlotte Symphony and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Future plans include OSESP Sao Paulo, as well as a return to the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Michael Collins has been committed to expanding the repertoire of the clarinet for many years. He has given premières of works such as John Adams’ Gnarly Buttons, Elliott Carter’s Clarinet Concerto - for which he won a Gramophone award for his recording on Deutsche Grammophon - Brett Dean’s Ariel’s Music and Turnage’s Riffs and Refrains, which was commissioned by the Hallé Orchestra. Collins has gone on to perform Turnage’s work with the Residentie Orkest, Royal Flanders and Helsinki Philharmonics, as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Collins has received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year Award in 2007 in recognition of his pivotal role in premièring repertoire by some of today’s most highly regarded composers.
In great demand as a chamber musician, Collins performs regularly with the Borodin and Takács quartets, András Schiff, Martha Argerich, Stephen Hough, Mikhail Pletnev, Lars Vogt, Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis. His ensemble, London Winds, celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2013 and the group maintains a busy diary with high calibre engagements such as the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival, City of London Festival, Cheltenham International Festival and Bath Mozartfest. He has a regular relationship with the Wigmore Hall and was one of their Artists in Residence in 2015/16, which includes concerts with London Winds and Christine Rice, Ailish Tynan and with the Borodin Quartet – with whom he will also work at the Cite de la Musique in Paris. Collins is also Artistic Director of the Liberation International Music Festival in Jersey.
Michael Collins records exclusively for Chandos and has covered a wide range of repertoire in his prolific recording career, which also includes releases on Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, EMI and Sony. Recent releases include a disc of British Clarinet Concertos with the BBC Symphony Orchestra which features Collins as soloist and conductor, as well as a disc of Brahms and Reinicke Clarinet Sonatas with pianist Michael McHale. Collins’s 50th Birthday was celebrated with a Chandos release of Weber Concertos conducted and performed by himself with the City of London Sinfonia. He has also recorded concertos by Corigliano, Adams, Carter, as well as Spohr, Copland and of course Mozart. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2015, Michael Collins was awarded an MBE for his services to music. He plays exclusively on Yamaha clarinets.