The Victorian Clarinet Tradition
Clarinet Classics (CC0022)

Colin Bradbury (clarinet) and Oliver Davies (piano)
with Elaine Barry (soprano)

List of pieces

The music on this record was all inspired by the playing of some outstanding clarinettists of nineteenth century England. The artistry of Henry Lazarus, the great Victorian clarinettist after whom Lazarus Edition is named, was the inspiration of a generation of players, both professional and amateur, and his pupils, notably Charles Draper, who in his turn taught Frederick Thurston, carried the tradition forward until the present day.

Seldom can a woodwind player have reigned supreme in his field for as long as did Lazarus. Succeeding Willman as principal clarinet of the Italian Opera under Costa at the age of twenty-five he held the post for 43 years, as well as being appointed to positions in the Philharmonic Society, the Crystal Palace Concerts and the Birmingham Festival. As a soloist and a chamber musician he towered over his contemporaries. Bernard Shaw wrote of him: "A phrase played by Mr. Lazarus always came, even from the unnoticed ranks of the wood wind at the opera, with a distinction and fine artistic feeling that roused a longing for an orchestra of such players. And his phrases come just that way still." At that time Lazarus was 74.

Alongside Lazarus, another fine player emerged in 1867. George Clinton (1850-1913) became principal clarinet of the Philharmonic Society in 1873 and of Crystal Palace in 1874. He is remembered today not only for his playing but for his work on developing the mechanism of the clarinet, and he also founded an important series of chamber music concerts at the Steinway Hall. English composers who were inspired to write works for him included Richard Walthew and William Y. Hurlstone.

And then there were the amateur clarinettists who played such an important part in Victorian musical life. Leonard Beddome, Randle Holme and Oscar Street, respectively cigar merchant, solicitor and Lloyds underwriter , were dedicatees of three of the works on this CD. Clarinettists undoubtedly of a professional standard, they had wealth and leisure enough to devote time not only to performance but to exploring the repertoire and building comprehensive libraries of clarinet music on a scale not possible for the busy professional.

Colin Bradbury

1 Henry Lazarus (1815-1895)
Fantasia on Favorite Scotch Melodies (c.1845)
2 Sir George Alexander Macfarren (1813-1887)
Fantasia: Traditions of Shakespeare (c.1864)
Comprising the authentic melodies of the following songs, incidental to, or mentioned in, the plays of the poet: Tomorrow, 'tis St. Valentine's Day (Hamlet) How should I your true love know (Hamlet) O mistress mine (Twelfth Night) Light of Love (Two Gentlemen of Verona & Much Ado about Nothing) O willow, willow (Othello) It was a lover and his lass (As you like it)
3 Sir George Alexander Macfarren (1813- 1887)
Two Songs with clarinet obbligato (1867) (dedicated to Henry Lazarus)
(a) A Widow Bird (poem by Shelley) (b) Pack Clouds Away (poem by T. Heywood)
4 Ebenezer Prout (1835-1909)
Sonata in D major Op. 26 (1882)
Allegro maestoso; Scherzo: Allegro; Largo espressivo; Rondo: Allegro grazioso
5 Charles Harford Lloyd (1849-1919)
"Bon Voyage !"
6 Otto Goldschmidt (1829-1907)
"Evening" Op. 26 (from set of songs, Op 9)
7 Algernon Ashton (1859-1937)
Tarantella Op. 107
8 Edward German (1862-1936)

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