Holbrooke: Clarinet Chamber Music CD review – fluent English impressionism

Joseph Holbrooke (1878-1958) became known as “the cockney Wagner” after the success of his operatic trilogy The Cauldron of Annwn, based on stories from the Mabinogion. But as this collection of his chamber works with clarinet – immaculately performed by Robert Plane and colleagues – shows, the main influence on his fundamentally late-romantic style was Brahms rather than Wagner. In Clarinet Quintet Op 27, which seems to be an amalgam of several earlier chamber works and Holbrooke revised several times, Brahms’s own quintet is repeatedly evoked, though in the 1903 Variations, which originally formed part of the quintet and are recorded for the first time here, there are also hints of the Edwardian salon music that Holbrooke composed so fluently. A couple of pieces for clarinet and piano touch on English impressionism, while perhaps the most intriguing piece here is a nocturne,

Article source: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jan/29/joseph-holbrooke-clarinet-chamber-music-cd-review-robert-plane

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