New technical advances in the clarinet in the late 18th century improved its sound greatly, which in turn made it popular with composers and orchestras. The music on Classical IPR’s New Release of the Week celebrates the rise of the instrument with three different concertos for two clarinets. The album is called “Double Clarinet Concertos.”
Not every orchestra in the eighteenth century had clarinets. The Mannheim Orchestra was extremely unusual because it already had two clarinetists by 1760. Mozart is said to have lamented, “If only we had clarinets!” after hearing the Mannheim Orchestra perform. Most orchestras and composers, though, used the clarinet as an alternate for the flute or the oboe since they were in similar registers.
Only in the 1780s did more orchestras in Europe begin to have clarinets in their regular orchestras. Composers began writing solo parts for the instruments in earnest. This album features clarinetists Andrzej Godek and Barbara Borowicz in double clarinet concertos by Carl Stamitz, Franz Hoffmeister and Franz Krommer.