Frederick Thurston, clarinet / London Symphony Orchestra / Gerald Finzi
The Clarinet Concerto, Finzi’s most widely performed and recorded orchestral work, shows his particular empathy for this solo instrument. Here the clarinet’s equal facility for sustained legato melody and rapid virtuosic figuration is supported by and interacts with his ever-imaginative writing for strings. The concerto breathes an air of fresh spontaneity, moving through baroque-inflected pastoralism, aching Elgarian echoes and lively folk-inspired melody. Artists who have become particularly associated with the work in concert and on disc in recent years include Emma Johnson, Richard Stoltzman, Michael Collins and Andrew Marriner. Its string accompaniment makes it ideal for coupling with Dies natalis or Let us garlands bring, shorter works such as the Prelude and Romance, or string orchestra repertoire by Elgar, Vaughan Williams or Britten.