Mozart 1791

Pierre Génisson
  1. Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492, Act 2: "Voi che sapete" (Arr. Fontaine for Clarinet and Orchestra)
  2. Cosi fan tutte, K. 588, Act 1: "Come Scoglio" (Arr. Fontaine for Clarinet and Orchestra)
  3. Cosi fan tutte, K. 588, Act 1: "Soave sia il vento" (Arr. Fontaine for Clarinet and Orchestra)
  4. Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622; I. Allegro
  5. Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622; II. Adagio
  6. Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622; III. Rondo. Allegro
  7. La clemenza di Tito, K. 621, Act 1: "Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio"
  8. Cosi fan tutte, K. 588, Act 2: "Una Donna a quindici anni" (Arr. Fontaine for Clarinet and Orchestra)
  9. La clemenza di Tito, K. 621, Act 2: "Ecco il punto, o Vitellia"
  10. La clemenza di Tito, K. 621, Act 2: "Non più di fiori"
  11. Requiem in D minor, K. 626: VIII. Lacrimosa (Arr. Fontaine for Clarinet, Organ and Fender Rhodes)


For his first album as an exclusive Erato artist, the French clarinettist Pierre Génisson focuses on his instrument’s most inspired 18th century advocate: Mozart. The centrepiece of his programme with the players of Concerto Köln and the young conductor Jakob Lehmann is Mozart’s clarinet concerto. “The spiritual and symbolic scope of this concerto is immense,” says Génisson. “Every time I come back to this masterwork, I experience the same thrill as when I discover a piece for the first time. It’s as if it were perpetually renewing itself.”

Complementing the sublime concerto are a number of shorter pieces. In two splendid arias from La clemenza di Tito –  Sesto’s ‘Parto, parto’ and Vitellia’s ‘Non più di fiori’ – Génisson’s intricate obbligato interweaves with the no less virtuosic vocal lines of mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes. Génisson’s clarinet then becomes a ‘singer’ in arrangements of two arias and the celebrated trio ‘Soave sia il vento’ from Così fan tutte, and Cherubino’s ‘Voi che sapete’ from Le nozze di Figaro. Completing the programme is an arrangement for clarinet and orchestra of the Adagio in B flat major KV 411, a piece originally conceived for two clarinets and three basset horns. Concerto Köln is a period-instrument orchestra, and for this historically informed album Pierre Génisson has chosen to play on several different instruments – period clarinets, copies of Anton Stadler’s instruments and modern instruments specially crafted for the recording. The spirit of the 21st century is evoked in the track that rounds out the album: a new arrangement by Bruno Fontaine of the ‘Lacrimosa’ from the Requiem, made for clarinet, organ and Fender Rhodes electric piano.

Pierre Génisson, a native of Marseille, is established as one of today’s leading French wind instrumentalists. A multi-faceted soloist, and a frequent guest with orchestras around the world, he trained in Paris at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique and in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California. His repertoire ranges from Mozart to jazz by way of folk music, and his lively interest in new music has led to collaborations with prominent composers such as Thierry Escaich, Karol Beffa and Eric Tanguy.

“Mozart and the clarinet – what a special combination!,” he writes. “Through the prism of his friendship with the clarinettist Anton Stadler, a fellow member of his Masonic lodge, Mozart established his credentials as a composer for this instrument, still a novelty at the time, coming to favour it as a mode of expression.”

The clarinet first emerged in the early 1700s and became established as as an orchestral instrument in the course of the 18th century. In 1778 Mozart wrote excitedly to his father about the quality of the clarinets in the famously innovative orchestra in Mannheim. Stadler, a musician at the imperial court in Vienna, was the purported inventor of the basset clarinet, an instrument with some extra notes at the bottom of its range. It was for the basset clarinet – and for Stadler – that Mozart wrote his clarinet quintet in 1789. The clarinet concerto followed two years later, receiving its premiere in October 1791 in Prague, the city which just a few weeks earlier had hosted the first performance of La clemenza di Tito. In early December, Mozart died in Vienna at the age of just 35.

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