Clarinet Music on vinyl or CDs

I got back into playing clarinet again after a long break. I try to practice when I have free time(unfortunately not that much).

Of course with this I have renewed my interest in clarinet music as well.

Trying to buy some clarinet recordings and discover the selection especially at the stores, is pretty poor.

So far I purchased:
Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A, K622 and Clarinet Quintet in A, K581 with Stoltzman;

French Works for Clarinet and piano(Saint-Saens, Devienne, Milhaud and Poulenc Sonatas) with Sabine Meyer,

The Essential Clarinet(Stravinsky Ebony Concerto, Corigliano Clarinet Concerto, Copland Clarinet Concerto) with Stoltzman.

I like Sabine Meyer's sound better than most of the Stoltzman's stuff(too much vibrato in his playing). Also, I highly recommend this cd I mentioned above. It is excellent as far as music and her playing is outstanding.

What would you recommend as good clarinet recordings? Vinyl or CD.

Looking for interesting suggestions to buy more music.

Chamber, solo, anything that may grab my attention.

As far as classical, I listen to anything from Mozart to Shostakovich.

Thanks in advance!
hi i love clarinet music and have a couple of suggestions for you:
1.harold wright w peter serkinh brahms sonatas and schumann fantasy pieces - boston records cd
2ricardo morales - french portraits also boston records cd
3david shifrin five american clarinet quintets lincoln center chamber music society delos cd
4. bruce yeh ebony converto ( stravinsky - reference recording cds
5. any harold right but particularly marlboro recordings which include the mozart and schubert's shepard on the rock-- i think you can find in both cd and vinyl
6. bartok contrasts -- I like a version on summit with valdepenas but there other good ones
7.if you are interested in sacd bis has some good brams/mozart and weber recordings by martin frost
8. stravinski - l'histoire du soldat - also like wright in this one ( not hard to see my favorite clarinetist)
Hope this helps Carol
Carol, thanks a lot!
David Shifrin and Carol Rosenberger recreate the Brahms/Schumann Soiree in the home of Clara Schumann and play the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas op120, no 1 and 2, as well as Schumanns Fantasiestucke op 73. Delos 3025.

An absolutely delightful performance and recording. Its been one of my favorites for over 20 years. A classic IMHO.
Thanks Newbee!
Hi there, I too enjoy Sabine Meyer's recordings. Try her performances of Weber's clarinet concertos on EMI (CD), these are fantastic - great recordings too. Similarly, she did "A night at the Opera" with EMI, highly recommended. I also like Dieter Klocker, try "The Art of Clarinet" where he plays pieces that we don't often hear.

Anything by Ricardo Morales is bound to be marvelous. My wife and I had the pleasure of listening to him live with the Philadelphia Orchestra - what marvelous tone!

Some recordings on LP that I can recommend for overall sonic excellence and good performances:

> Thea King's various recordings with the Hyperion label, consistently very well engineered sonically. Choose the music you like, if you like her playing style (which I do).

> Weber and Brahms Clarinet Quintets with Daniels and the Composers String Quartet on Reference Recordings, RR40. Or the Thea King recording of the Brahms with the Gabrielli String Quartet on Hyperion, A66107.

> Alan Hacker's "Hymn to the Sun" lp on L'Oiseau Lyre DSLO 17, with music by Birtwistle, Debussy, Monteverdi and Schumann.

> Corigliano's Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra with Stanley Drucker and Mehta/NYP on New World, NW309

> Kjell Fageus with the Stockholm Royal Orchestra performing music of Larsson, Crussell and Mozart on Opus 3, 8801 (a wonderful recording)

> Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, performed by Gervase de Peyer
with Maag/LSO on Decca SXL 2238 (available as a Speakers Corner reissue)

> Schoenberg's Suite, op39, for 2 Clarinets, Bass Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello & Piano: either Atherton and the London Sinfonietta on Decca, or the Melos Ensemble with Gervase de Peyer on L'Oiseau Lyre DSLO 282
Mogelsvs, as a matter of fact a friend of mine ust bought this disc with Meyer playing the Weber concerto(there are 2 concertos plus a quintet I think), and it is great. I may get that too. Thanks for the recommendation.
Rushton, thanks!

Schoenberg, ha? He's usually very interesting and I didn't know he wrote for clarinet.
As a clarinetist myself I urge you to check out a creative soul from Italy, Gianluigi Trovesi.

Trovesi is trained classically but breaks jazz boundaries. His entire repertoire is excellent. For intriguing music and superb sound I unhesitantly recommend my favorite, a CD called Round About a Midsummer's Dream, on the Enja label. It has fine music & musicians, including the superb Renaud Garcia-Fons on bass.
Rubinken, thanks!
You didn't indicate an interest in jazz, but should that interest you Ken Peplowski and his quartet have a bunch of recordings of laid back jazz on Concord Jazz. A couple that I enjoy are "It's a Lonsome Old Town" and includes Charlie Byrd, Marian McPartland, and Tom Harrell, and "The Natural Touch". There are quite a few others if his music stimulates an interest. Very good recording quality, BTW.
Newbee thanks. I will investigate this. I am open to suggestions in jazz as well, although if it is jazz I am buying, I try to buy modern, more avantgarde jazz
I am currently taking a break from traditional and bee-bop.

Anyway, I picked up a couple of CDs today.
Out of all the recordings mentioned, the only disc that I found was Brahms Clarinet Quintet and Clarinet Trio with Thea King. I listened to it on the way home and it is excellent. Thanks Rushton for mentioning Thea King on Hyperion label! Very good, but unfortunately not cheap either. Paid $23 for a single CD.
While I was at B&N buying the above and searching for some more music, I found Gerald Finzi Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, with Five Bagatelles for Clarinet and Piano and on the same disc Charles Villiers Stanford Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra. All performed by Emma Johnson with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I like Finzi so I took a chance. I briefly listened to it and Finzi's concerto is a really great piece! Unfortunately I am not thrilled with the performance by Emma Johnson as far as I could tell in the car, but the music is great.

I will start looking on-line to order some of the stuff mentioned here.

Thanks all, and please keep it coming.
Glad you enjoyed the Thea King recording, Audphile1. In addition to enjoying Thea King, I find Hyperion's recording quality consistently excellent.
Rushton, you're right, the sound quality is very good, despite that this disc was recorded in the beginning of the 80s. I guess the original was still an analog tape...may be.

Rushton, if you don't already have any Sabine Meyer recordings, I highly recommend. Mozart, Webber, anything really. BTW, she plays the German Oehler system clarinet and these instruments have a bit rounder, deeper and richer tone than the Boehm system clarinets.
And Meyer's playing happens to be really impressive.
Thanks for the suggestion, Audphile1. I'll have to find some of Meyer's recordings to listen to given your recommendation.
Meyer's playing IS very impressive, but I actually find the tone a little too round for my taste. I recently found an oddball lp which you might look for.

Here's a relatively obscure one for you. A wonderful version (IMO) of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A which is on lp only:

--- "The Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra" conducted by George Cleve, Sonic Arts Lab Series 22, clarinet played by Mark Brandenburg.

This was a live digital recording from 1981, so I wasn't expecting much of it, but was quite surprised and love the performance. It's not easy to come by, but I did a Google on it and found one available in not perfect, but probably very acceptable condition:

(A local friend used to have a few sealed copies, and I could ask whether he still has them and if so, if he's interested in selling one. You can email me directly through A'gon if you'd like me to check.)

Also, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the old Westminster mono recordings of the Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet with Leopold Wlach playing clarinet. They're fantastic performances with a very nostalgic, warm sound quality. The first pressing lp's (which is what I'd recommend) also tend to go for fairly good $$$ accordingly.

As far as jazz, in a vein that a classical buff might enjoy, look for anything featuring Eiji Kitamura - very nice playing of very enjoyable music.
Opalchip, I didn' risk ordering this in EX condition. I'll try to find one in NM or M, but I will find it.
However, I just ordered from them Bruch Clarinet Concerto with Thea King. I love Bruch's violin concertos but never heard his clarinet concerto. This one was in NM condition.

Thanks for the link!
I can't believe it - I ran into that friend I mentioned this AM (which happens about once every 3 months), had coffee with him - and totally forgot to ask whether he had any copies left. I'M A MEATHEAD!!! I'll call him tonight and check.
Anthony Michelson playing Clarinet on Musical Fidelity's Clarinet Quintet K 581. This is the best recording I have heard of this very well known piece by Mozart.

Here is the website - I suggest you order the K 581 and find out how good it can really sound!! The bonus is that they have several Clarinet CD recorded specially in audiophile quality. You can clearly hear the sound of the register movement and of course if you are right there with them!

Musical Fidelity
With all due respect, as everyone has different ears and different equipment - I also had the K581 lp and got rid of it because I found it to be a totally lackluster performance and just an OK recording.
I would like to recommend the cd also by Anthony Michaelson on the MF label of Weber Clarinet Quintet Opus 34, Barmann 3rd Clarinet Quintet Opus 23.
I think the cd Is really well recorded (to my ears anyway).
Oops! -
I didn't read the previous post carefully and didn't have time to write much detail as I was rushing out of the house for an appointment.

The lp which didn't impress me was the "K622" (Clarinet Concerto) produced (and hyped) by John Atkinson of Stereophile. I have not heard the K581, so can't say anything about that one.

My experience with K622 is the Vinyl, which was mastered from a discrete tape recording of the same performance, so possibly the SACD is better sonically - though I doubt it. My main beef is with the performance(s) anyway. I pretty much came to the opinion that Michaelson is a very good amateur player who happens to own Musical Fidelity, and has the resources to issue, and the industry friends to promote, his own vanity recordings. The playing is relatively faultless, but not of the interpretive level of a Stoltzman, Meyer, Drucker, Kell, Wlach, etc. There are HUNDREDS of working, real PROFESSIONAL clarinetists playing worldwide, and there's a reason only a handful have recording contracts - it ain't that easy to rise to the highest artistic levels (and/or they're not biggies in the Audio Industry).

Overly conservative conducting probably played a large part, too. The whole thing was so flat - I tried a number of times to change my attitude (since it's a nice package and I really wanted to justify keeping it), but I was not once able to listen through the whole disc due to boredom. I just saw no reason to keep this lp.

Anyway, that's my opinion on K622 - Since Audphile1 is a clarinet player himself, it would be interesting to hear his take if he has heard any of the Michaelson issues.
Opalchip, haven't heard that disc. I had actually no idea Michaelson played clarinet.
I have the K581 with Stoltzman. I really like the K581 Quintet, it's a beautiful piece along with the K622 Concerto on the same cd, and I liked Stoltzman's performance initially, but his excessive vibrato became a little annoying. I'll see if I can find a copy of Michaelson cd.

I'm really enjoying Thea King's Brahms Clarinet Quintet and Trio cd at this point.

I will be checking out more music that was suggested here. The tough part is finding these in stores. The selection of clarinet music is really poor in Borders and B&N, at least locally.

Please keep the recommendations coming.
Check out these threads.
I just ordered bunch of the stuff recommended here. Can't wait to get it!

Also, I just aquired 2 of the Sabine Meyer recordings on EMI:
1)Weber-Clarinet Concerto Nos.1 & 2, Concertino and Clarinet Quintet
2)Mozart Clarinet Concerto K622, Claud Debussy Premiere Rapsodie, Toru Takemitsu -Fantasmo/Cantos(EMI). What makes this particular recording interesting is the fact that the 3 works performed here are very different. K622 sounds really nice on this recording. It is played on the basset-horn.

Frogman, I read the threads. Great info. I will look into some of it. Thanks!
Got following:
1) Harold Wright with Peter Serkin - Brahms Sonatas and Schumann Fantasy Pieces. This is an excellent CD and I really like Wright's sound and playing. Thanks Dupzyk for recommending this cd.

2) David Shifrin and Carol Rosenberg also Brahms and Schumann. While it is very good, I certainly like Harold Wright's playing a bit more than Shifrin's. Both are great musicians...just a slight preference towards Wright's style.

3) Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets - Wright w/Boston Symphony Chamber Players. Really good.

4) Copland Clarinet Concerto with Stanley Drucker w/Bernstein and NYP. Excellent as well.

5) Schubert's The Shepherd on the Rock with Harold Wright. Great piece.
Opalchip may be well be right about Michaelson's Clarinet playing....I just liked the recording that is all. I don't think I ever got skilled enough at Clarinet to recognize a great player from simply a very good one. Just my two cents...
I tried to look for this cd and the only way for me to hear it is to buy it. I kind of suspected that this would be more of a recording statement than anything.
That's the reason why I didn't go crazy trying to find it.
Thanks for the recommendation though.

Lately I've been paying more attention to a performance than a recording quality when purchasing a classical cd.
I really like a good quality recording as well, but unfortunately the combo of good musicianship/recording can be tough to come by among the new or recent realeses sometimes and that mostly leaves the older recordings to be explored.

If you want to hear a very good Mozart Clarinet Concerto try Sabine Meyer. For a Clarinet Quintet, I really liked a recording with Harold Wright. Sabine Meyer also has a recording of the Quintet on EMI but I haven't heard it, although I am pretty confident it must be quiet good.

Speaking of new releases, there is an interesting CD that just hit the stores recently - "Krommer: Double Clarinet Concerto; Spohr: Clarinet Concertos Nos. 2 & 4" with Sabine Meyer and Julian Bliss. I am looking to pick it up next week.
Here is a sneak peak on youtube if you are interested.
Glad you liked the wright w serkin and the shepard on the rock -- those are two of my favorites too-- I think Wright is incredibly muiscal and his legato playing was unmatched id second rushtons seeking out ricardo morales recordings too-- ive heard hom a couple of times in person and i think he is fabulous. Carol
Carol, thanks again. You know, Wright's playing on Schubert's Shepherd on the Rock is great but I was also impressed with Benita Valente. She has a crystal clear soprano and the blend of her voice with the sound of clarinet is something really special.
A minor complaint would be about the level of hiss on that particular piece on the cd. It's a bit excessive. But not that much of a concern. Great music though.

I will make sure to check out Morales recordings.
Here's a unique one - I just picked up this independent, clarinet-centric LP at a library sale yesterday and very much like it. It's "modern" classical, but NOT modern in the form of random, irritable screeching. I'd call it "Mostly Melodic Modern". If you're into clarinet especially, it's enjoyable and unique listening IMO:

Richard Wilson (composer) approx. 1986- on the Opus 1 label, recording quality is excellent to audiophile. There's no actual album title, but tracks are:

Side 1
Line Drawings - clarinet duo
Gnomics - clarinet, oboe, flute

Side 2
Dithyramb - clarinet, oboe
Serenade - clarinet, viola, double bass

Clarinetist on all 4 pieces is Larry Guy, who has been Principal with the Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, and Paul Taylor Dance Company.

You can LISTEN to a very long clip (might be the whole piece actually) of "Gnomics" here :

You can read quite a bit about Wilson here:

There are a couple of these on Ebay currently with Buy It Now's.