Review: The Clarinotts / Ernst, Daniel & Andreas Ottensamer

Austrian clarinettist, former cellist, and keen golfer Andreas Ottensamer (centre, above) returns with another album accompanied by two other remarkable instrumentalists: his brother and father. All three clarinettists. All of them in possession of amazing technique. All of them stupidly handsome too. Sickening. I bet they were prefects at school as well.

The Clarinotts’  album released on 1 January 2016 and promo’d during the Vienna Phil’s New Year’s Day concert from the Musikverein, builds on the success of Andreas’ Clarinet Portraits with the Rotterdam Phil a couple of years back by recognising what was appealing about that album and applying a tried and tested formula: multiplying it by three.

Be sure to listen to the delightful Konzertstuck Op.113 from Mendelssohn. The close harmony between basset horn and clarinet is a delight on the ears. So too, the elegant simplicity of the Trio from ‘Cosi fan tutte’. Sadly, I haven’t been able to get any further than the Fantasy on Themes from Verdi’s Rigoletto because 1’45” to 2’30” (and in particular the breathtakingly tight articulation at 2’18”) has demanded endless repeat listens.

What I would have done to be able to play the clarinet like these three. It reminds me why I loved learning the instrument in the first place. This album is glorious little excursion, loving curated and beautifully performed.

The Clarinotts new album is out on Deutsche Grammophon/Mercury Classics and is available via iTunes, Spotify and Amazon


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