September 12, 2014

Mozart Clarinet Quintet – Lammermuir Festival


There’s a passage in the slow movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet that gets me everytime: just a brief sequence of downward-shifting suspended harmonies….I’ve never heard it more beautifully done than in this performance by the Danish String Quartet and clarinettist Mark Simpson. The upper strings were muted and nutty-warm, the cello pulsated richly, and Simpson’s honeyed tone wove weightlessly in amongst them.  Simpson was an ideal match: playing a special oversized clarinet with long plumbing to reach the lowest notes of the original score, his sound was velvety at the bottom and his control seemed effortless.  Classy stuff.

Herald Tribune / Lammermuir Festival / September 2013

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