Maximiliano Martín, one of the most charismatic clarinet players of his generation, plays iconic late works by Brahms: the two clarinet Sonatas on his debut recording for Champs Hill.
Coupled with the lesser-known Fantasy pieces by Niels Gade
Brahms’ two clarinet Sonatas (along with the clarinet quintet) are his last chamber works and might not have been written at all, had he not been inspired by the beautiful clarinet playing of Richard Mühlfeld. Clara Schumann described his playing as: “delicate, warm and unaffected . . . most perfect technique and command of the instrument”.
Brahms’ music is idiomatic, exploiting the clarinet’s ability to change register and play rapid arpeggios. . Both clarinet sonatas have a wide expressive range embracing muscularity, passion, energy, humour and light-heartedness. Without these pieces the clarinet repertoire would be much poorer.
The most celebrated musician of his generation in Denmark – he succeeded Mendelssohn as chief conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra - Niels Gade’s Fantasy pieces date from 1843.
Gade regarded Schumann as a friend and mentor and his generally conservative musical language shows traces of Schumann, though without his exceptional poetic imagination and fantasy, while the rather more conventional language of Mendelssohn is a stronger influence.
Maximiliano Martín is principal clarinet of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a member of the London Conchord Ensemble who have recorded Poulenc, Menotti and more with Champs Hill Records. He is internationally in demand as a soloist and chamber musician and has also recorded for Linn records. A second album with the Badke Quartet, of Mozart and Brahms quintets, will also be released on Champs Hill next year.