Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622; Sinfonia concertante in E flat > Sabine Meyer
(EMI Classics 56230)

Mozart's Clarinet Concerto is a buoyant and wonderful example of the composer at his most playful and creative, and this recording of it is a must-have.

For those who are not into classical music as a rule, but want to have "some Mozart," well, why don't you start with this one? Bla, bla, you could go with the Requiem mass, or the Jupiter symphony, or Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, but those are like the Sgt. Pepper, "Free Bird," and "Stairway to Heaven" of the classical world.

Go with this one, it's light and beautiful, perfectly played and absolutely entertaining all the way through. It's a classical disc that you'll actually listen to, and it remains thrilling play after play.

Personally I am not heavily into Mozart, and I don't understand classical music conceptually, but I knows what I likes, and this, to me, is one of Mozart's most inspired pieces. Sabine Meyer plays it on the basset clarinet (a lower-register clarinet that fell out of favor in the years after Mozart's death), restoring the work to its full glory.

It's a smashing piece of music, frilly yet substantive, full of ornament but also imbued with great feeling. For pretty classical music, you can't go wrong here, and of course it will turn your baby into a genius. The orchestra is the Staatskapelle Dresden, conducted by Hans Vonk.

The concerto is paired with the more famous Sinfonia concertante in E flat (K.297b), which is recognizable from movies and such. It's an equally powerful work that is an ideal complement to the clarinet concerto. The performance is brilliant, the sound is stunning, and the feel is just wonderful.

This is fantastic Sunday evening music. If I drank wine, I'd drink wine to it. If I read great books, I would read great books to it. If I painted, sculpted, air-conducted, or even simply ever cleaned my house I would do all of those things to it.

It's a disc I return to time and again with great pleasure. My musical tastes in general have recently been leaning more toward noise, dissonance, and (most scarily of all) classic rock, but this is a disc I never lose my absolute adoration for. I can't imagine a better performance of the specific works, so please, buy without fear.

I think this has since been reissued in EMI's "Great Recordings of the Century" line, deservedly so. It's too bad classical music is so daunting to get into, from a consumer standpoint. The critics don't help that. Take it from this semi-literate critic: you don't have to be brainy to get into classical music. And not all classical music is good. As with all genres, there's great, good, and crap.

This disc is a total keeper, the sort of thing you'd love to play in your mansion, if you didn't live in a trailer park. Go get it and give Eminem a rest, will ya?

Review by Red-Red Richards