Nielsen: Clarinet Concerto/Flute Concerto
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Neilsen: Flute Concerto, Clarinet Concerto by SALONEN, ESA PEKKA
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Nielsen was a master at writing for wind instruments, and at one point projected doing a concerto for all members of the Danish Wind Quintet (that is, for flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon and horn). These two works are as far as he got before his death. Both pieces pit the soloist against other instruments in the orchestra. In the Flute Concerto, the fastidious soloist confronts a lunatic trombone with hilarious results. And in the Clarinet Concerto--the greatest for the instrument since Mozart's--the soloist has a very serious argument with a snare drum whose part is equally difficult and prominent as that of the woodwind. There's no resolution in the latter piece: in the end both characters simply go their separate ways. These two works deserve the widest currency, and are expertly played and recorded by Esa-Pekka Salonen and his fine Scandinavian soloists. --David Hurwitz