Mozart & Van Maldere

Pieter Van Maldere’s position in European music history is as unique as it was influential. His symphonic works were a synthesis of French stylistic elements combined with Viennese and Italian influences, and it was thanks to these that Van Maldere occupied a specific place in the development of the Classical symphony in the 18th century.

Van Maldere (1729-1768) composed forty-nine symphonies which were published in Paris, London, Dublin and Brussels, and were performed throughout Europe. The library of Esterházy contains every symphony by Van Maldere that was published; these scores were purchased by Joseph Haydn, who clearly performed the symphonies in Esterházy.

Mozart too was familiar with Van Maldere’s music and also met him during his visit to Brussels as a child prodigy. Later in life, Mozart became friends with the Viennese clarinettist Anton Stadler during his time in Vienna; this friendship resulted in several splendid works for the instrument. In this context we should also mention Theodor Lotz, the instrument maker to the Viennese court. The collaboration between Lotz and Stadler led to a completely new form of clarinet in 1788; this was later to be named the basset clarinet.

A basset clarinet is a clarinet with a lower extension, meaning that its lower range is two whole tones deeper than that of a normal clarinet. This greater range gives the composer room to create a completely different type of musical line for the solo instrument, enabling a natural sounding dialogue between a higher and a lower line. The basset clarinet can imitate a passage sung by a female and a male voice on its own, as it were. The operatic style is never far from Mozart’s final works: his melodic lines, even in instrumental works, are drenched with lyricism. — From liner notes by Vlad Weverbergh

‘The passionate and brilliant sound of Van Maldere’s Symphony Op. 5 No. 1 has a lot to do with the recording, which accentuates the low-pitched strings. Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto gets its unusual sound from the basset clarinet. With its defined contrast between high and low tones, it especially makes the concerto’s dialogues stand out – something a ‘normal’ clarinet wouldn’t be able to accomplish.’

Klassieke Zaken

‘Our advice: forget all other bassets and horns, and enjoy the lively, colorful and relaxed music of the extensive Terra Nova Collective, led by Vlad Weverbergh.’

Bart Tijskens, Klara

‘Not only does Vlad Weverbergh play the basset clarinet gorgeously, he also conducts with taste and insight, and exquisitely illustrates the history of the basset clarinet in the booklet notes.’

Siebe Rietstra, Opus Klassiek

‘The recordings of this cd resulted in a historical document played in a lyric yet meticulously worked out style by the many precise nuances which blend seamlessly, the honor for which should be given to the orchestra just as much as to Weverbergh himself – both as a clarinetist and a conductor.’

Cultuurpakt Knopskaya