New Release: intimacy and Transfiguration

„This interplay between clarinet and strings is simply something special“
– Sharon Kam plays Brahms and Reger clarinet quintets


Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Quintet for clarinet,
two Violins, Viola and Violoncello
in B-minor op. 115

Max Reger (1873-1916)
Quintet for clarinet,
two Violins, Viola and Violoncello
in A-major op. 146

Sharon Kam - clarinet
Isabelle van Keulen - Violine
Ulrike-Anima Mathe - Violine
Volker Jacobsen - Viola
Gustav Rivinius - Cello

Bonus-CD, limited edition
W. A. Mozart (1756-1791)
Quintet for clarinet,
two Violins, Viola und Violoncello in A-major KV 581 „Stadler“-Quintett
Sharon Kam in conversation with Michael Kube
Release: 16. October 2015

The string quartet has a perfectly balanced, homogeneous constitution and is justly deemed the "prime genre" of chamber music. What happens when it is joined by a clarinet? This woodwind instrument, with its variety of registers, can emerge to be accompanied, but also all of a sudden dive in between the woven voices and add a surprising variety of colours. The most important works for this ensemble were composed by Mozart, Brahms and Reger, where the later quintets refer to their predecessors - a very interesting chain of works. Sharon Kam recorded Mozart's Quintet in 2011, as a compilation to the concerto, with her colleagues Isabelle van Keulen, Ulrike-Anima Mathé, Volker Jacobsen and Gustav Rivinius ("a brilliantly successful disc of this very desirable coupling, very well recorded" – Edward Greenfield, Gramophone). She quite deliberately refrained from choosing an existing quartet as her partner, making up a team of soloist friends instead. The result was a true quintet and not a "4+1" formation. The harmony was abundant from the start, and so they simply kept making music together – naturally enriching their concert repertoire with Brahms and Reger.

The idea of a further recording was irresistible. Both works are quite special, mature pieces: Brahms ripe with an emotion he rarely revealed and ending in a mood of resignation, Reger with his densely meshed yet always transparent final work. This is the piece that may well be a surprise for some lovers of chamber music. The clarinetist Sharon Kam was particularly taken by this work: "It was a love at first sight - or at first hearing! It fascinated me how complicated this piece is and how easy it becomes the moment one gets to know the score better. This challenge has totally intrigued me.“ In this new recording, the five comrades in music bring these pieces to life, casting light into every corner, giving free rein to their emotions, yet never losing the structural oversight – and letting all this flow as if in one concerted breath

For those seeking closer insight into the relationships and cross-connections, there is a limited special edition. This includes a bonus CD with the Mozart quintet and an informative discussion between the clarinettist and Reger publisher Michael Kube. Using musical examples, letter quotations and explanations you can get even closer to the magic of this music. Unfortunately, this conversation is available in German only.

There are no translations available.


Review: Australian Chamber Orchestra Plays Haydn and Mozart




Australian Chamber Orchestra Richard Tognetti, front left, the artistic director and lead violinist of the
ensemble, and the clarinetist Sharon Kam, center, at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. Richard Termine


Carnegie Hall probably could have presented the popular Australian Chamber Orchestra in Stern Auditorium, its main hall. But it was a treat to hear that ensemble play a wonderful concert on Sunday afternoon in the 600-seat Zankel Hall,   Carnegie’s appealing basement performance space.

...Israeli-born clarinetist Sharon Kam gave a probing, continually imaginative and technically prodigious account of this remarkable late Mozart work. Mozart composed the concerto for the virtuoso clarinetist Anton Stadler, renowned for the elegant lyricism of his playing. I can’t imagine a more lyrically refined performance than Ms. Kam’s. In the slow movement she revealed her inner mezzo-soprano, bending phrases with the beguiling beauty of a fine opera singer. Yet she and the Australian players brought plenty of ebullience to the piece, especially in the dancing, sly finale.




Artists: Sharon Kam - clarinet ·  Zohar Lerner  - violine  (Ponchielli) ·
Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn  - Ruben Gazarian ·  Dr. Nanna Koch - concertmaster ·  
Arrangements: Andreas N. Tarkmann, Jonathan Seers (Verdi)

"I love opera! I love going to the opera as much as going to concerts, and I admire this special art of music making from a distance, so to speak. At the same time, opera is constantly present in my life, since my husband Gregor is an opera conductor and together we listen to and study just about everything that is in the offing for both of us. It is hardly surprising, then, that in eighteen years of marriage I have come to love numerous stage works, and I have been able to witness close up the very different approaches required for a concert and for a work of musical theatre. As artists, we work in very different circles (so to speak), but these two worlds converge at home. In addition, I find singing really wonderful – it is after all the most natural way of making music! I do not have a good voice, but my children sing in a choir and I love to listen to them whenever possible.

One day Gregor said to me: if you love opera so much, why not go operatic yourself! That idea stuck and in the renowned arranger Andreas N. Tarkmann we found the right partner to help us put the idea into practice. He has a very good overview of the repertoire, and together we trawled Italian opera in search of suitable pieces, which he then tailored to our requirements. Well-thought-out dramatic composition was important to us in our task, in order to do justice to both the showcase pieces and the great emotions portrayed in grand opera. We were able to enlist the support of the Württembergisches Kammerorchester, an ensemble with which I have been making music for many years, and with them the clarinet became a veritable singing prima donna as it took on one role after another, expressing great emotional, life-changing moments. Do I need to mention how happy it has made me to be able to achieve my goal with this CD?"

Sharon Kam




Gioachino Rossini (1792 - 1868)

01 »Del periglio al fero aspetto« (Aria aus »Maometto II«) 5:18

Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901)
4 Romances from »Composizioni da camera«

02 »Deh, pietoso, oh Addolorata« (Adagio – Andante) 3:57
03 »Ad una stella« (Andantino) 2:32
04 »In solitaria stanza« (Andante mosso) 3:40
05 »Lo spazzacamino« (Allegro) 2:06

Gioachino Rossini

06 Bolero (aus »Album per canto e pianoforte«) 3:48

Giacomo Puccini (1858 - 1924)
Three Canzonas

07 »Sole e amore« (Studie zu »La Bohème«) 1:55
08 »Storiella d‘amore« 4:57
09 »Ore dolce e divino« (aus »La Rondine«) 4:47

Amilcare Ponchielli (1834 - 1886)

10 »Paolo e Virginia« for clarinet, violin and orchestra 8:16

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876 - 1948)
Suite for clarinet and chamber orchestra

11 Intermezzo (aus »Susannas Geheimnis«) 2:27
12 Serenata (aus »Der Schmuck der Madonna«) 3:30
13 Intermezzo (aus »Die vier Grobiane«) 3:20
14 Danza napolitana (aus »Der Schmuck der Madonna«) 4:09

Gioachino Rossini

15 »Nacqui all‘affano« (Finale aus »La Cenerentola«) 7:01


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