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Reviewed, Not Necessarily Recommended: Vapid Mann

Johan Gottfried Hendrik MANN: Feest Preludium for Orchestra op.95, Clarinet Concerto op.90, Violin Concerto op.101, Troisième Suite op.98. Sebastian Manz (clarinet), Akiko Yamada (violin), Hermann Bäumer (conductor), Osnabrücker SO ● CPO 777 620 (73:40)

available at Amazon
J.G.H.Mann, Violin & Clarinet Concertos et al.,
S.Manz, A.Yamada / H.Bäumer / Osnabruck SO

I don't remember being less impressed by any type of unknown romantic composition. Pleasant, harmonic, utterly pointless, utterly forgettable music. The Troisième (3rd) Suite is just mindbogglingly vapid. The Violin Concerto means nothing to the ears. The Clarinet concerto is superbly played and just good enough to make one notice the quality of the playing. Terribly disappointing all the tedious way... to the point where further exploration of that composer is discouraged... especially with so much marvelous, equally unknown and under-recorded stuff coming from the same label and in part even the same performers*. Sebastian Manz can't be blamed, meanwhile; he is a phenomenal clarinetist who audibly gives his all and should be commended for playing a less well known—and only coincidentally, unfortunately in this particular case: lesser—work. I want to hear more of him in that kind of repertoire: he'll be sure to unearth a gem or two. In a very important way the release is still welcome: only in taking risks can any artistic success be achieved, and that includes music-publishing.

* The Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra, for example, has recently made the first (!) Turkish language recording of Ahmed Saygun’s Magnum opus, the oratorio Yunus Emre... which is a delightful, major contribution to the recorded repertoire. Review forthcoming.