Mozart: Serenades & Divertimen
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Audio CD, CD, 28 June 2011
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During the 18th century it was common for noblemen to employ numbers of musicians to entertain themselves and their guests, and to add dignity and colour to occasions of Church and State. Music was frequently written to form a pleasant background to dinners and parties. Serious or complex music would clearly have been inappropriate for gatherings of this kind; it was the task of the composer to amuse the guests without overstepping his function and distracting them from the more important business of eating, drinking and making merry. In these circumstances much music was produced which deserved no more than to be talked through; but composers of the ability of Mozart and Haydn responded with light music of a higher quality. The titles Divertimento, Cassation, Serenade and Notturno all refer to pieces of this kind. Elements of the old dances - allemande, courante, sarabande and so on - had fallen from favour, but the minuet was used a good deal and the style gallant was much in evidence. Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields' recording of Mozart's most popular serenade - the ubiquitous Eine kleine Nachtmusik - made for Argo in 1970 has never been out of the catalogue, but the other works on this compilation, equally compelling, magically performed, have not, as often, seen the light of day on CD. Such is the case with the brief issue in Decca's 'World Of.' series of the extended Divertimento KV 334 and the haunting Notturno for four orchestras, deploying extraordinary echo effects. These are complemented on this anthology with the Serenata Notturna, the three early Divertimenti KV 136-138, and the little-known but breezy Concertone opening the collection. Composers: Mozart. Performers: Iona Brown (violin), Kenneth Heath (cello), Carmel Kaine (violin), Tess Miller (oboe). Orchestras: Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Conductors: Sir Neville Marriner.
- Product dimensions : 14.3 x 12.4 x 0.61 cm; 113.97 Grams
- Manufacturer : LHUJW
- Manufacturer reference : 028948047222
- Original Release Date : 2011
- Label : LHUJW
- ASIN : B00549I47I
- Country of origin : Australia
- Number of discs : 2
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ずいぶん昔の話で恐縮だが、白水社から出ていた吉田秀和全集の2巻だったか3巻だったかにルドルフ・バルシャイがモーツァルトの曲を指揮した盤をきいて「完璧なアンサンブルだがあと何もない。マリナーの演奏と対極にある」と書いて、別の巻でこのＫ．136の冒頭をイ・ムジチとＡＳＭＦが ---- 主にフレージングにおいて ---- いろいろ違う、と分析しておられた。
These originate from the late 60s and early 70s, most from the Argo label. Argo was known (unofficially) as being Decca's top-drawer recordings. These Marriner Mozart readings certainly confirm that, at least for these ears. One other reviewer found these CD transfers to sound a bit bright and harsh. I hear none of those characteristics. I hear them as being delightfully clear and precise, with superbly defined articulation, within a warm acoustic. And the strings, as recorded, consistently sing with a soaring airiness, naturally filling the acoustic. In comparison, his Philips recordings are certainly warmer and fuller, but a little muffled, less detailed and with less air and spaciousness; his later EMIs even worse in this regard. I greatly prefer the extra clarity and freshness of these earlier recordings. It may come down to the quality of one's stereo system; some are brighter and less refined than others.
I have not heard any previous Decca releases of these recordings, so I cannot comment on how this Eloquence reissue compares with regards to remastering. But I can say that I derived so much enjoyment from these discs, that I have nothing but the highest praise - from performance and recording quality perspectives. Indeed, one would never guess these are nearly 50 years old! Very highly recommended to all lovers of Mozart.
other hand, one can still obtain the conductorless ASMF in one-on-a part string-wind Divertimenti which I prefer slightly in some works under review here: the Divertimenti K136-138 and 334 and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The other
works here do not suffer from being performed by a very small group such as the ASMF here. The Divertimento k334 is the best work in the 2-fer and receives a bouyant and lovely performance. It is one of Mozart's most joyful works after the string trio Divertimento k563 (which is one of Mozart's greatest works in any format). Perhaps some of the ASMF performers here played in the later one-on-a-part version, but they sound quite similar in every respect except for size. This is true
also for the EK Nachtmusik and the three early string Divertimenti k 136-138-my favorite music in the latter is k136 and the first movement of k137. Perfect tempi in all four works. I would like the first movement of the Serenata Notturna to be quicker, but it still does not drag and the solo violins are very good.
The Serenata Notturna k286 for four orchestras is less attractive, I think, but here the small numbers also help.
The Concertone k190 is larger scaled, sounding like a Sinfonia Concertante for two violins, cello, and oboe-not as great as k297B or k364 but by no means negligible- I still love Karl Ristenpart's version on ReDiscovery, but
Marriner's is so good, especially the Finale, that it is a virtual draw. This is substantive early Mozart.
In #s 1-3 below, the principle peer is the ASMF Chamber Ensemble/Philips
Peers:1 EK Nachtmusik: ASMF Chamber Ensemble/Philips; Amadeus Quartet/DG; Jochum/BRSO/DG
2 Divertimento k334 " "; Vienna Octet/Decca
3 Divertimenti k136-138 " "
4 Notturno k286 (Serenade #8)- Maag/LSO/Decca
5 Concertone- Ristenpart/Saar CO/ReDiscovery; Stern/ Zukerman/Barenboim/Sony
6 Serenata Notturna (Serenade #6)- Maag/LSO/Decca; Mackerras/CPO/Telarc