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Mozart Serenades Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

thoroughly recommend, especially if you have any kind of SACD player.

Claire Rogers 2007

What a good idea to record these relatively little-known (and recorded) serenades and short violin works by Mozart. A product of Linn’s fruitful partnership with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, this excellent disc focuses on music dating from the first twenty-five years of Mozart’s life, when - although well-travelled - he was still based in Salzburg.

Mozart wrote the two main works – the Divertimento and Serenade – as a teenager, and in them we hear him exploring and establishing his own innovative style. Given what we know of his precocious personality it’s fascinating to witness this beautifully poised and highly civilised music, in which he experiments with unusual orchestrations (the Trio of tr.5 for instance) and most notably, in the Divertimento, uses for the first time an instrument that would become so important to him in later works - the clarinet.

The SCO’s playing is as dynamic and reliable as ever. Yet to my ears the strings don’t always sound as caring tonally and involved musically as in some of their previous recordings with Linn – the excellent Brahms CD for instance. As a whole though, the orchestra really shines under violinist Alexander Janiczek’s excellent no-nonsense direction. The balance is good, and although the second violins and violas are mostly kept well in the background they do have some star moments – listen to the viola work, again in track five. Rhythmically there’s also great cohesion, especially in the minuets which are wonderful.

Janiczek’s violin solos in the Serenade and Divertimento are beautifully understated, as an orchestral leader might deliver them, which is to be applauded. The three other solo violin works often appear as fillers in sets of Mozart violin concertos, and although Janiczek plays them well, it’s a shame he doesn’t take the opportunity here to really open up the violin sound more.

All in all this is a really enjoyable super audio disc which I thoroughly recommend, especially if you have any kind of SACD player.

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