New Eras

LighthousePoole, South-West, BH15 1UG, United Kingdom
On Wednesday 17 January 2018 at 19:30

The Clarinet Concerto of Czech composer and father of the Mannheim School, Johann Stamitz, stylistically speaking, sits between the late baroque and classical periods and is renowned for being one of the first proper concertos written for the instrument. It is an important milestone in the development of the genre with its use of sonata and rondo form. The Mannheim School was a melting pot of revolutionary experimentation with musicians from all over Europe coming together to develop a new explosive and colourful sound – the beginnings of the orchestra as we know it today. The Mannheim Orchestra was also the first to adopt the recently developed clarinet, and here Mozart heard the instrument for the first time. Continuing where his father left off, Carl Stamitz further developed classical structure in his concerto, with its broad symphonic writing and thematic progression. A lovely touch, opening the adagio, sees the clarinet holding a long, sustained note while the strings play the principal theme; this process is repeated and then the clarinet gently unfolds and develops the material over a beautifully transparent accompaniment.



Launched by a stirring call to attention Mozart’s brilliant Haffner, with its sweeping first movement containing just one real theme and use of clarinets for added textural timbre, marked a big departure for the period. The finale, which Mozart requested be played “as fast as possible” bubbles over with comic-opera vivaciousness. It was with his Fifth Symphony that Dvořák left his symphonic apprenticeship definitively behind him and attained not only mastery but also that individual, loveable style that makes him so popular. Its distinctive quality of the simultaneously airy and dramatic owes much Schubert, to whom he turned for inspiration after abandoning the Wagnerian style he had previously adopted. But Dvořák’s Bohemian roots are also apparent.

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