Bernhard Crusell review: A soft celebration of the clarinet
Crusell Three Quartets for clarinet and strings
Eric Hoeprich; members of the London Haydn Quartet; Bernhard Crusell
If you ever come across the music of a composer born in Finland during the 18th century it’s likely to be by Bernhard Crusell (1775-1838). And if you do come across Crusell it’s likely to be through his work for his own instrument, the clarinet. His three clarinet quartets were written in 1812, 1816 and 1823 and Eric Hoeprich here uses clarinets based on models by the Dresden maker Heinrich Grenser, whose instruments Crusell is known to have used. The performances are very mild. Hoeprich and his period-instrument colleagues take an easy-going, undemonstrative approach that looks back to the 18th century rather than seeking out Crusell’s genuine gestures of burgeoning romanticism.