Mozart - Divertimenti
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Cat No: CKD479
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 16th February 2015
WorksDivertimento in B flat major, K240
Divertimento in B flat major, K270
Divertimento in E flat major, K252
Divertimento in F major, K253
Serenade no.11 in E flat major, K375
ArtistsScottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Soloists
Following the success of performances and recordings of Weber’s Wind Concertos with SCO principals as soloists, the SCO Wind Soloists that feature on this album have since 2012 started to explore Harmoniemusik repertoire.
Inspired by the legacy of the great Mozartian conductors of the SCO, including Sir Charles Mackerras, the Wind Soloists make a fine contribution to the SCO’s distinguished Mozart discography.
This new recording includes four of the five Tafelmusik sextets for pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons, together with the Serenade in E flat major, the first of Mozart’s three great wind serenades.
The Serenade in E flat major has many unusual features. Its opening fanfare - a series of repeated chords on the tonic in E flat - immediately catches the ear. The fact that Mozart avoids fatiguing the listener with a surfeit of the same sonorities, in music with a necessarily limited dynamic and instrumental range, bears eloquent testimony to his genius.
This recording captures the wealth of detail in Mozart’s Divertimenti - there is something in each of them for every music lover.
Comprising pairs of clarinet, bassoons and natural horns, the players are dedicated to performing each work in a stylish and informed way, from the masterpieces of Mozart, Beethoven and Weber to twentieth-century works and contemporary commissions.
SCO Wind Soloists:
- Maximiliano Martín, clarinet
- William Stafford, clarinet
- Peter Whelan, bassoon
- Alison Green, bassoon
- Alec Frank-Gemmill, horn
- Harry Johnstone, horn
The SCO Wind Soloists have appeared in chamber concerts throughout Scotland. They have also performed at the Palace of Holyrood House in the presence of HRH The Prince Charles.
"Like the SCO proper, they straddle a distinctive stylistic line between period sensibility and mostly modern instruments. The notable exception, the natural horns, which gave superb balance and character" - The Herald
"You'd be hard-put finding better wind ensemble playing" - The Guardian
1Serenade in E flat major, K375 - I. Allegro maestoso
2Serenade in E flat major, K375 - II. Menuetto e trio
3Serenade in E flat major, K375 - III. Adagio
4Serenade in E flat major, K375 - IV. Menuetto e trio
5Serenade in E flat major, K375 - V. Finale. Allegro.
6Divertimento in F major, K253 - Thema
7Divertimento in F major, K253 - Variation I
8Divertimento in F major, K253 - Variation II
9Divertimento in F major, K253 - Variation III
10Divertimento in F major, K253 - Variation IV
11Divertimento in F major, K253 - Variation V
12Divertimento in F major, K253 - Variation VI
13Divertimento in F major, K253 - Menuetto e trio
14Divertimento in F major, K253 - Allegro assai
15Divertimento in B flat major, K270 - I. Allegro molto
16Divertimento in B flat major, K270 - II. Andantino
17Divertimento in B flat major, K270 - III. Menuetto e trio
18Divertimento in B flat major, K270 - IV. Presto
19Divertimento in E flat major, K252/240a - I. Andante
20Divertimento in E flat major, K252/240a - II. Menuetto e trio
21Divertimento in E flat major, K252/240a - III. Polonaise
22Divertimento in E flat major, K252/240a - IV. Presto assai
23Divertimento in B flat major, K240 - I. Allegro
24Divertimento in B flat major, K240 - II. Andante grazioso
25Divertimento in B flat major, K240 - III. Menuetto e trio
26Divertimento in B flat major, K240 - IV. Allegro
An eloquent demonstration comes in the shape of this latest Mozart disc from Linn. Six wind soloists from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra – which has set down so many memorable Mozart discs for this label and others – offer a veritable feast, comprising the first of the great wind serenades in its original sextet version and four of the five Tafelmusik divertimenti for wind sextet.
Led by Maximiliano Martin, the two clarinets, two bassoons and two natural horns of the SCO Wind Soloists combine superb stylishness, period-performance sensibilities and abundant character in performances that are a joy from start to finish. It's nice to see the late Sir Charles Mackerras acknowledged as an inspiration behind this enterprise, and the playing bears all the hallmarks of his guiding spirit.
The main work – the E flat Serenade, K 375 – is more familiar in its expanded version with an added pair of oboes, but in its original guise there's a deliciously 'woody' sound to the work's pungent opening chords as performed here. Both tempo and phrasing are spot-on, bringing a touch of wistfulness as well as some delightful phrase-shaping. There's a palpably vocal quality to the clarinet, horn and bassoon solos in the tender central Adagio, while the accompanimental exchanges between instruments in the decorated reprise of the main theme are brilliantly done. The two Minuet movements which frame the Adagio have an ideal balance of poise and buoyancy, the distinctive sound of the natural horns coming into its own in the Trio of the first Minuet, while in the lively, puckish sonata-rondo Finale the playing is superbly alert.
The four divertimenti which give this disc its title are far from being mere fillers. Each is akin to a miniature symphony, usually in four movements and complete with Minuet. Though originally scored for oboes, bassoons and horns, the substitution here of clarinets for oboes emphasises the music's lyrical qualities without any loss of edge. Each is full of individuality in these excellent accounts.
The three-movement F major Divertimento, K 253, is unusual for its opening Andante, a theme-and-variations movement which fully exploits Mozart's increasing gift for wind writing in music of abundant variety. The latest of these four works is the B flat Divertimento, K 270, tremendously high-spirited and with a formally expansive opening Allegro molto.
In the E flat work, K 252/240a, the 6/8 Andante 'slow' movement is placed at the opening, and – following the Minuet – there's a rare and welcome example of a Mozartian Polonaise which swaggers along splendidly in this account. The disc is rounded off with the earlier B flat Divertimento, K 240, with its lovely Andante grazioso and perky Minuet.
This is a marvellous addition to the SCO's distinguished Mozart discography, guaranteed to bring many hours of pleasure, whether as the 'background' music it was originally intended for, or in more immersive listening. With a finely focused recording that brings out all the timbral riches of the instruments, and detailed notes by Mozart expert Robert Levin, it can be recommended without hesitation.
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