Bernhard Henrik Crusell, clarinetist and composer, was born on
October 15, 1775 in Nystad, Finland and died on July 28, 1838 in
Stockholm, Sweden. Although he did compose for other instruments and
won the Swedish Academy’s Gold Medal in 1837 for his Swedish
translations of French, German and Italian operas, he is probably most
remembered for his works for the clarinet, most of which were written
between 1803 and 1812: 3 Concertos for Clarinet and Orchestra (Op. 1 in Eb Major, Op. 5 in F Minor and Op. 11 in Bb Major), a Symphonie Concertante (Op. 3, for clarinet, horn and bassoon), 3 Duets (Op. 6, for two clarinets), Introduction and Variations (Op. 12, for clarinet and orchestra) and 3 Quartets (for clarinet, violin, viola and cello, Op. 2 in Eb Major, Op. 4 in C Minor and Op. 7 in D Major).
The Opus numbers represent the order in which the works were published, rather than the order of composition; Concertos No. 1, 2 and 3 were not necessarily written in that order.
Most of the major works for the clarinet were written for clarinetist who were friends of the composers: W. A. Mozart (1756-1791) wrote his Trio, K. 498 (for clarinet, viola & piano), Quintet, K. 581 (for clarinet & strings) and Concerto, K. 622, for clarinetist Anton Stadler (1753-1812); Ludwig Spohr (1784-1859) wrote 4 Concertos and various other solos for clarinetist Johann Hermstedt (1778-1846); Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) wrote his Concertino, Op. 26, Variations, Op. 33 (for clarinet & piano), Quintet, Op. 34 (for clarinet & strings) and 2 Concertos, Op. 73 & 74 for clarinetist Heinrich Baermann (1784-1847); and Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) wrote his Trio, Op. 114 (for clarinet, cello & piano), Quintet, Op. 115 (for clarinet & strings) and Two Sonatas, Op. 120 (for clarinet & piano) for clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld (1856-1907). Of these clarinetists, only Heinrich Baermann also composed for the clarinet.
Crusell’s Chamber music is interesting, in that, he, quite correctly, treated all of the instruments relatively equally. Many works for clarinet and strings, Weber’s Clarinet Quintet (Op. 34) for example, focus almost exclusively on the clarinet, relegating the strings to merely accompaniment; however, most of Crusell’s Chamber works for clarinet and strings have interesting and challenging parts for not only the clarinet but also the strings too, especially Clarinet Quartet No. 3.
Crusell played an 11-keyed clarinet made by the Berlin instrument maker Heinrich Grenser (1764-1813) - a fact worth remembering when performing his works on a modern Boehm system clarinet with 17 keys and 6 rings.
Franz Vincenz Krommer, violinist, organist and composer, was born
on November 27, 1759 in Kamenice u Trebíce, Czechoslovakia and died on
January 8, 1831 in Vienna, Austria. Krommer’s name is also often seen
as “Krommer-Kramar” because his actual name was Frantisek Vincenc
Kramar. His first musical training, age 14 to 17, was studying violin
and organ with his uncle, composer and choirmaster, Anton Matthias
He moved to Vienna in 1785, then from 1786 held various posts in Hungary, before returning in 1895. From September 13, 1818 until his death, Krommer was the last official director of Chamber Music and court composer for the Habsburg Emperors.
Krommer wrote over 300 compositions but only began publishing in his later years. Along with Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), Krommer was regarded as a leading composer of String Quartets and a serious rival to Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827).
His solo Wind Concertos - one for Solo Clarinet (op. 36 in 1803); also, two for 2 Clarinets (op. 35 in 1802 and op. 91 in 1815); two for Flute (op. 30 in 1802 and op. 86 - also arranged as a Clarinet concerto); and two for Oboe (op. 37 in 1803 and op. 52 in 1805 - also arranged as a Clarinet concerto) - are now considered his most individual accomplishments, following the Classical Music Period (1750-1825) style of Haydn and Mozart.
In his capacity as Director of Chamber Music, Krommer wrote a very large quantity of Chamber Music, including: 26 String Quintets (for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello); 83 String Quartets (for 2 violins, viola & cello); 9 Flute Quartets (for flute, violin, viola & cello: op. 13 in 1798, op. 17 in 1799, op. 59, op. 75 in 1808, op. 89 in 1820, op. 90 in 1820, op. 93 in 1820, op. 94 in 1820 and op. 97); 2 Bassoon Quartets (for bassoon, 2 violas & cello, op. 46 in 1804); and 2 Piano Quartets (for piano & strings, op. 95 in 1817).
Of most interest to us, of course, are the Chamber works for the Clarinet: 13 Pieces for two Clarinets and Viola (op. 47, 1804); a Clarinet Quintet (for clarinet, violin, 2 violas & cello, op. 95); and 5 Clarinet Quartets (for clarinet, violin, viola & cello: two as op. 21 in 1802, op. 69, op. 82 in 1816 and op. 83). It can be observed that Krommer was not very careful with his use of opus numbers; there are two totally different works for each of the opus numbers 69, 83 & 95.
The scores included in this book show the original versions of the
quartets using Clarinet in A; the MIDI accompaniment is for Bb Clarinet
and Clarinet in A (which is contained in a folder - see inside back
cover). The clarinet part is, of course, the same, regardless of which
accompaniment is used.
Book - 48 pages - 9”X12” - $19.95
CD - 32 Audio tracks & 8 MIDI Files
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