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An engaging new concerto

BBC Radio 3 Record Review, Andrew McGregor

Now when composer Mark Boden wrote a new concerto for clarinettist Robert Plane, it was a sporting enthusiasm they shared that propelled the piece: long distance running. So the concerto’s overall form is loosely based on the physiology of marathon running, beginning with ‘Adrenaline’.

First movement ‘Adrenaline’ from Mark Boden’s Clarinet Concerto is played.

‘Adrenaline’, overflowing with the nervous excitement and rhythmic energy of a marathon runner — the opening of the Clarinet Concerto by Mark Boden written for Robert Plane, who you heard there with the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Jeffrey Patterson. And after that adrenal rush, we’re taken through ‘Refuelling’ with its spikes of energy; then the dreamlike state achieved, they tell us, at about 16 miles or so when things can get tough and you ask why you’re doing it at all; then ‘Hypertension’, and the rush to the finish line: elation and exhaustion.

It’s an engaging new concerto I think.

All of these pieces are commissions for Plane. Huw Watkins ‘Four Fables’ with the Gould Piano Trio are lovely things: a set of sensual, abstract tales inspired by Robert Schumann’s fairytales. The album’s called ‘Isotonic’, after the Boden concerto’s second movement, it’s new from Resonus Classics.

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