Franz Dimler Clarinet Concertos close to Mozart

Franz Dimler was a talented guy. He was hired as a French horn player at Mannheim in 1767. In 1778 he joined the Munich court as a double bass player.

And all the while he composed: symphonies, concertos, quartets, and operettas. After his death in 1827, Dimler’s music lapsed into obscurity.

So I’m happy to see releases such as this. Nikolaus Friedrich performs three of Dimler’s four clarinet concertos. These works were written in the 1790s when the clarinet was a new addition to the orchestra.

The concertos are contemporaneous with Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. Which leads to some interesting comparisons.

Like Mozart, Dimler composed for a specific soloist. Both composers wrote idiomatically for the instrument. But somehow, Dimler demands a little more technical skill from the soloist.

Nikolaus Friedrich performs well. His playing is light and dexterous. His tone is warm throughout and nicely rounded in the upper register. Friedrich’s phrasing brings out Dimler’s tunefulness.

Johannes Willg and the Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester provide fine support for Friedrich. Dimler’s music should be light, and the ensemble keeps it so. If you enjoy Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and wanted more, give this release a listen. Dimler runs a very close second.

Franz Anton Dimler: Three Clarinet Concertos
Nikolaus Friedrich, clarinet
Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim; Johannes Willg, conductor
CPO 555 209–2

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