This fascinating disc brings together some real musical rarities: the unpublished clarinet works of Archduke Rudolph of Austria, a pianist and amateur composer who is best known for being a pupil and patron of Beethoven. In the early 19th century, Rudolph began taking piano and composition lessons with Beethoven; they became close friends and the Archduke went on to become the composer’s patron.
Beethoven dedicated no fewer than 14 works to Rudolph – including some of his greatest masterpieces such as the ‘Emperor’ Concerto, the ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonata and the Missa solemnis – and the two men regularly exchanged letters.
The influence of the great composer on his friend and protégé is palpable in the charming works collected here, many of which have been reconstructed from surviving fragments following meticulous research by the artists. There are several works comprising variations on themes and operatic arias by Joseph Weigl, who was an eminent composer at the Viennese court at the time – Beethoven also used a theme from one of Weigl’s operas in his Op.11 Clarinet Trio. Also featured are some delightfully elegant waltzes, a lyrical Andante and brilliant (albeit incomplete) Polacca, and a set of variations – also on a theme by Weigl for the unique combination of clarinet and two pianos.
Rudolph: Adagio and Polacca
Rudolph: Allegro (from an unfinished Sonata in B flat major)
Rudolph: Six Dances
Rudolph: Sonata in B flat major
Rudolph: Thema mit Variationen für Klarinette und Klavier