Dean is a brilliant clarinettist (and artistic director of the Australian National Academy of Music) who was a soloist with the Southern Sinfonia in recent years. He plays works by Brahms and Schumann, accompanied by Emmerson, the pair being two of Australia’s most sensitive and poetic musicians. Dean is noted for purity and beauty of tone on the wind instrument, so beautifully recorded here, while not too closely miked for breathing sounds to distract. Brahms’ Sonatas No. 1 and No. 2 are late works tinged with melancholic acceptance or anger against the march of time, as well as tender memories. Three brief transcriptions of Lieder songs by Brahms are delights and Drei Fantasiestücke (Three Fantasy Pieces) by Schumann, Brahms’ great friend, conclude this masterful recital.
Highlight: Brahms’ emotional complexity.