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English Fantasy: Music for Clarinet & Orchestra



*Number 3 in the UK Specialist Classical Chart*

This album is particularly close to my heart because it contains music written especially for me; the composers have paid me the great compliment of writing with my playing in mind, in some cases collaborating closely with me, in others simply presenting me with a finished work, and in all cases creating a distinctive, English piece which makes a worthwhile addition to the repertoire for solo clarinet with orchestra.

These four composers have all also dared to write melodically whilst still managing to find new things to say. Does it take courage to write melodically? Well, yes, when you live in an age where art has to be forever stretching boundaries to be taken seriously. However English Fantasy contains music which I hope will entertain and move a contemporary audience whilst unapologetically rooting itself in the traditions of the past.

Emma Johnson

English Fantasy: Music for Clarinet & Orchestra


“Johnson soars with ease in the gorgeous Sarabande, delicately scored and rather haunting.” Gramophone

"Todd and Dankworth's jazzy and urbane works nicely complement Hawes's Finzi-like Concerto, all given committed performances by their dedicatee. Reade's Victorian Kitchen Garden Suite is a pleasant makeweight." BBC Music Magazine

"The British clarinettist, Emma Johnson, is a lively, delightful and eminent presence in the classical music scene. She has been a multiple prize-winner and in 1996 was awarded an MBE for her services to music. Not only has she made many recordings but also she has been the dedicatee of works by John Dankworth, Will Todd, Patrick Hawes, Michael Berkeley, Matthew Taylor and Robin Holloway. She also provides the very personal liner note here although the four composer profiles are by another hand (not identified). These four concertos or concerto-type works inhabit various related English styles but all of them are melodic. A predominance of contentment and poetry with the accent on the understated. Winning ways from Emma Johnson again."
Rob Barnett,

CLASSIC FM – Recording of the Week The superb clarinettist Emma Johnson has put together this programme of attractive and accessible works written especially for her by some of our leading composers. There's a concerto from Classic FM favourite Patrick Hawes, Paul Reade's popular Suite from The Victorian Kitchen Garden, Will Todd's blues and funk-inspired Concerto for Emma, and an equally jazzy Woolwich Concerto by the late John Dankworth. The fact that these pieces were composed with her in mind means that the music sounds very natural in her hands. It's refreshing to find modern music which is melodic and at the same time has something new and refreshing to say. The melodic approach roots the music in the English traditions of the past while at the same time giving us delightful new repertoire for the clarinet to savour.