English Fantasy:
Music for Clarinet and Orchestra


English Fantasy: Music for Clarinet and Orchestra


Clarinet Goes To Town
with the Carducci String Quartet,
John Lenehan (piano), Paul Clarvis (percussion)
(Nimbus Alliance, 2016)

“Clarinet Goes to Town” showcases Emma’s clarinet in light, enjoyable tracks ranging from romantic to jazz with the Carducci String Quartet, John Lenehan (piano) and Paul Clarvis (percussion).

“..a winning disc. if you like Emma Johnson, clarinettists or a jazz-influenced programme, go for it.”
Musicweb International

1. Libertango (Piazzolla)
2. Walking the Dog (Gershwin)
3. Bach goes to Town (Templeton)
4. Tico-Tico (Abreu)
5. Maple Leaf Rag (Joplin)
6. Czardas (Monti)
7. Vocalise (Rachmaninov)
8. Habanera (Ravel)
9. Cakewalk (Debussy)
10. Grand Boubousse (Simeon)
11. China Boy (Boutelje/Winfree)
12. Frensham Pond (Lloyd-Webber)
13. Indian Lament (Dvorak)
14. St. James Infirmary Blues
15. Wang Wang Blues (Buesse/Muller/Johnson)
16. Sheik of Araby (Snyder/Smith/Wheeler)
17. After You’ve Gone (Layton/Creamer)
18. Petite Fleur (Bechet)
19. Riffs (Bernstein)
20. Simple Gifts (Copland)
21. Nocturne (Chopin)
22. Canto Popolare (Elgar)
23. Carnival of Venice (Giampieri)
24. Lullaby (Brahms)

English Fantasy
Music for Clarinet and Orchestra by John Dankworth, Patrick Hawes, Paul Reade and Will Todd.
(Nimbus Alliance, 2016)

BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Philip Ellis.
“English Fantasy”: album release in August 2016.

Classic FM Album of the Week

John Suchet, Classic FM, wrote:
“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.”
Read more at ClassicFM.co.uk

“Here’s an amiable disc…pulled off with aplomb.”
Read more at Gramophone.co.uk

Schubert Octet
recorded live with Emma Johnson and Friends
(Somm, 2016)

”There’s a strong feeling of a group of like-minded musicians revelling in playing life-enhancing music for pleasure and as a team. I enjoyed this expert and always smiling performance very much indeed and it’s evident from the vociferous applause at the end that the audience enjoyed it just as much.”
“With an hour and a quarter of delightful music in first-rate performances this disc is a winner.”

Music Web International
CD of the week in The Lady Magazine
Brahms Clarinet Quintet
Zemlinsky Clarinet Trio

with Michelangelo String Quartet and John Lenehan, piano
(Nimbus, 2015)

“(Emma Johnson) has a lovely, mellow tone and blends ideally with the quartet in a perfectly balanced recording which allows the gentle pulsing of
the viola and cello to emerge clearly beneath the melodic line in the Adagio.”
“Johnson͛s legato is a dream and she blends the caramel lower register of her instrument with the burring of the cello as they harmonise in thirds and fifths in a richly retrospective love theme.”
“The players interweave magically. It is hard to imagine a more musical recording of two such deeply satisfying works, ideally paired here.”

Music Web International CD of the Month
Brave New World
music by Prokofiev, Hindemith, Rota, Messiaen, Lutoslawski
with John Lenehan, piano
(Champs Hill Records, 2014)

Prokofiev Sonata op.94
Hindemith Clarinet Sonata
Rota Sonata
Lutoslawski Dance Preludes
Messiaen L’Abime des Oiseaux, Vocalise

“The entire program is quite an uncanny experience. Highly recommended”
American Record Guide

“All expertly performed and well recorded”
The Arts Desk

“The brave new world of the title has as its background the bleakness and horror of the Second World War, in which context the music of Prokofiev, Hindemith, Lutoslawski, Nino Rota and Messiaen offers differently poignant perspectives. Johnson’s musical sensibility and technical refinement are palpable.”
The Daily Telegraph

Brahms Clarinet Sonatas
recital disc with John Lenehan, piano
(Nimbus, 2012)

“Beautiful phrasing and rich colours”
The Sunday Times

“Johnson’s ability to bring out so many shades is astounding. This new issue will make you fall in love with these works again.”
The Classical Reviewer

“It is difficult to imagine these performances being surpassed”
Music Web International

“A collection of exceptional interpretations from a masterly duo…a free-flowing flexible approach to both sonatas of vibrant impulsiveness and expansive fervour.”

“At first it seems surprising that Emma Johnson has waited until now to record two pillars of the repertoire, Brahms’s opus 120 clarinet sonatas, but it soon becomes apparent why: these are the fruit of Brahms’s sunset years, works of profound maturity that require a deep understanding that only years of careful performance and interpretation can produce. The result is definitive.”
“A landmark disc”
– Sunday Observer

Copland / Bernstein / Dankworth
recital disc with John Lenehan, piano
(Naxos, 2009)

This recording for Naxos includes the Suite for Emma, written for her by Sir John Dankworth, together with other jazz-inflected works by Copland and Bernstein.
Dankworth – Suite for Emma
Dankworth – Picture of Jeannie
Copland – Clarinet Sonata
Copland – Nocturne
Bernstein – Clarinet Sonata

“The whole programme is played with great polish and flair. It’s bound to delight Johnson’s many fans, and increase their number.”
***** BBC Music Magazine

The Mozart Album
Mozart Concerto and Quintet
with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Emma Johnson (clarinet & conductor)
and the ConTempo Quartet
(UCJ, 2005)

Emma’s 2005 recordings of Mozart’s masterpieces.
Clarinet Concerto K622
Clarinet Quintet K581
Voi che sapete
Papageno’s Aria
Ave Verum Corpus

“Few can conjure such affecting vulnerability in the lyrical movements or match her mischievous wit in the Concerto’s finale and the variations on Papageno’s song.”
– Classic FM magazine

It’s well known now that Mozart originally wrote his clarinet works for an extended instrument with a few extra notes at the bottom. For this recording Emma has made her own reconstruction of the original score and helped to design a new basset clarinet in conjunction with her clarinet maker, Peter Eaton.

popular pieces with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Julian Reynolds
and John Lenehan, piano
(UCJ, 2004)

Emma’s first recording for Universal Classics was a collection of shorter pieces with something for everyone. The tracks include everything from film and TV themes to modern classical pieces, including some remarkable jazz-inspired performances along the way! The album was an enormous success, spending 26 weeks in the UK classical charts.

Track Listing:
1. Clarinet Candy (Anderson)
2. Caprice XXIV (Paganini)
3. Fantasy Impromptu (Chopin)
4. Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)
5. Scarborough Fair (Traditional)
6. Georgie (Johnson)
7. The Entertainer (Joplin)
8. Forlana (Finzi)
9. The Flight of the Bumble Bee (Korsakov)
10. Tribute to Benny Goodman (Gershwin)
11. Theme from Inspector Morse (Pheloung)
12. Cinema Paradiso (Morricone)
13. Passaggio (Einaudi)
14. My Love is like a Red, Red Rose (Traditional)
15. Autumn Song (Tchaikovsky)
16. The Force of Destiny (Verdi)
17. La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin (Debussy)
18. Pavane pour une Infante Defunte (Ravel)
19. L’Heure Exquise (Hahn)
20. Returning Home (Barry)

Mozart and Weber Clarinet Quintets
with Emma Johnson and Friends
(ASV Records, 2000)

Emma’s first recording of Emma Johnson and Friends (here Gabor Takács-Nagy, Rebecca Hirsch, Tim Bolton and Andrew Shulman).

The Essential Emma Johnson
compilation of earlier recordings (ASV Records, 1999)

Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A K622
Crusell Clarinet Concerto no.2
Baermann Adagio
Arnold Clarinet Concerto no.2 op.118

Reade – The Victorian Kitchen Garden
Rimsky-Korsakov – Flight of the Bumble Bee
Rachmaninov – Vocalise
Schumann – Fantasiestücke op.73
Debussy – La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin
Ravel – Pavane pour une Infante Défunte
Milhaud – Scaramouche Suite
Satie – Gymnopedie no.1
Gershwin – Three Preludes
MacDowell – To A Wild Rose
Finzi – Five Bagatelles op.23
Blake – Walking in the Air
Benjamin – Jamaican Rumba

“A lovely collection.” – Classic FM magazine

“Emma Johnson plays Crusell’s charming concerto with lovely pastoral innocence. Malcolm Arnold’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2 ends the first disc in a stamp of wild, jazz age exuberance. Johnson shows dazzling virtuosity in Flight of the Bumble-Bee and Scaramouche.”
CD Choice Evening Standard

Sir Malcolm Arnold – The Complete Works for Clarinet
with English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Ivor Bolton
(ASV Records, 1995)

Concerto no.2 for clarinet and orchestra
Three Shanties for Wind Quintet
Sonatina for clarinet & piano
Fantasy for solo clarinet
Divertimento for flute, oboe & clarinet
Concerto no.1 for clarinet and strings

Recorded in the presence of the composer with the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Ivor Bolton

One of BBC Music Magazine’s Records of the Year, 1995

Arnold’s music is full of lyrical melody and sharp humour and the wide range of music on this disc gives a flavour of this. His works for wind players have become classics.

recital disc of English music
with Malcolm Martineau, piano, and Judith Howarth, soprano
(ASV Records, 1994)

Ireland – Fantasy Sonata
Vaughan Williams – 6 Studies in English Folk Song
Bax – Sonata
Vaughan Williams – 3 Vocalises
Bliss – Pastoral
Stanford – Sonata
Bliss – Two Nursery Rhymes

One of BBC Music Magazine’s Records of the Year, 1994

“A real pleasure from start to finish. Johnson responds to all this material with unfailingly insightful prowess and endearing character.”
– Gramophone

Encores 2
recital disc with Julius Drake, piano
(ASV Records, 1994)

Milhaud – Scaramouche Suite
C.P.E.Bach – Solfeggietto
Rameau/Ettlinger – Gavotte
Rachmaninov – Vocalise op.34 no.14
Kreisler/Johnson – Liebeslied & Syncopation
Templeton – Pocket-size Sonata no.1
Johnson – Variations on a Hungarian Folk Tune
Trad/Johnson – Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Blake – Walking in the Air
Horowitz – Valdemosa Majorcan Piece no.2
Satie – Three Gymnopedies
Babin – Hillandale Waltzes

Michael Berkeley Concerto
with Royal Northern Sinfonia, conducted by Sian Edwards
(ASV Records, 1993)

Michael Berkeley Clarinet Concerto
Pere du Doux Repos… (from Speaking Silence)~
Flighting for solo clarinet
Recorded in the presence of the composer
Henry Herford (baritone)

Berkeley’s Concerto depicts the pain and suffering undergone by Rudyard Kipling in his childhood

“It’s hard to imagine a more satisfying premiere recording” – Classic CD
“A bold, valuable release” – Hi-Fi New and Record Review) [A:1*]
“Johnson is superb” – The Sunday Times

with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir Charles Groves;
with Malcolm Martineau (piano)
(ASV Records, 1993)

Finzi – Clarinet Concerto
Finzi – Five Bagatelles
Stanford – Clarinet Concerto
Stanford – Three Intermezzi

Nominated for a Gramophone Award, 1992

The Finzi Clarinet Concerto deserves to rank alongside the Elgar Cello Concerto as the greatest of all British concertos. Stanford’s concerto is very much in the style of Brahms (in fact it was originally dedicated to Brahms’ clarinettist Richard Muhlfeld) but has a Celtic twist.

recital disc with Julius Drake, piano, and Skaila Kanga, harp
(ASV Records, 1992)

1 – 5. The Victorian Kitchen Garden
6. Tales Of The Tsar Sultan: Flight Of The Bumble Bee
7. To A Wild Rose
8 – 17. Vars On Mozart’s ‘La Ci Darem La Mano’
18. Sicilienne
19.Two Movts: Woeful Shepherd
20.Two Movts: Barn Dance
21 – 23. Gershwin Three Preludes
24. Etude On ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’
25. Danza Espanola No.5 ‘Andaluza’
26. Jamaican Rumba
27. Piece En Forme De Habanera
28. Ruhe Sanft (Zaide)
29. Fantasy On Themes from ‘Rigoletto’

Emma Johnson Plays Crusell
Crusell Concertos from earlier recordings
(ASV Records, 1991)

Emma Johnson’s earliest success came with performances of Crusell’s witty and lyrical Second Concerto and for many people, she put this composer on the map. Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 1; Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 5; Concerto No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 11.