Chamber Soloists of the RPO – Mozart: Wind Serenades (2007)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 71:14 minutes | 1,14 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: naimlabel.com | Artwork: Front cover | © Naim Records
The Viennese newspapers of 23 March 1784 announced a concert at the Imperial Royal National Court Theatre to be given by the clarinettist Anton Stadler, ‘at which, among other well chosen pieces, a large wind work of a very special kind composed by Herr Mozart will be performed’. A member of the audience, Johann Friedrich Schink, listed the thirteen instruments in his diary and noted that ‘at each instrument sat a master – oh, what an effect it made – glorious and grand, excellent and sublime!’ Although Schink heard only four movements, this must have been the Serenade in B flat, K361. (The misspelt title ‘Gran Partitta’ and the erroneous date ‘1780′ were added to Mozart’s manuscript by an unknown hand.) Mozart was a close friend of Anton Stadler, and later wrote the Clarinet Concerto and Quintet for him: in his honour, Mozart augmented the basic ‘Harmonie’ octet with a second pair of horns, two basset-horns and a string bass (or contrabassoon), thus creating this ‘large wind work of a very special kind’. We do not know which four movements Schink heard; nor do we know when, or for what occasion, the remaining three movements were added.
An impressive slow introduction establishes the first clarinet’s leading role from the opening bars, and leads to a fully worked-out monothematic sonata movement on a symphonic scale. The Minuet which follows has two contrasting Trios; the first Trio is a showcase for the pairs of clarinets and basset-horns (the basset-horn is an alto clarinet with an extended lower register).
The third movement, Adagio, sets up a gently throbbing syncopated pulse over which a long melody is unhurriedly unfolded by oboe, clarinet and basset-horn in turn. The second Minuet again has two contrasting Trios; then follows a Romance, a hymn-like Adagio in triple time, interrupted by a stormy minor-key middle section with busy passage-work for bassoons.
The ‘Theme with Variations’ constitutes the most substantial section of the work. It started life in a very different guise, as a movement of a C major Quartet for flute and strings (K285b) of 1778; in translating it to the larger forces of the wind ensemble, Mozart endows this apparently featherweight piece with a magical range of tone-colours – most memorably in the fifth variation, in which the clarinets and basset-horns lay down a soft carpet of undulating demisemiquavers to support the oboe’s melodic line.
The boisterous Rondo finale provides an exhilarating release of tension; all the instruments in turn are given a last opportunity for virtuoso display before the final headlong dash to the finishing line.
01 – I Allegro (Serenade No. 12 in C Minor K388 ‘Nacht Musique’)
02 – II Andante (Serenade No. 12 in C Minor K388 ‘Nacht Musique’)
03 – III Menuetto in Canone (Serenade No. 12 in C Minor K388 ‘Nacht Musique’)
04 – IV Allegro (Serenade No. 12 in C Minor K388 ‘Nacht Musique’)
05 – I Largo (Serenade No. 10 in B Flat Major K361 ‘Gran Partita’)
06 – II Menuetto (Serenade No. 10 in B Flat Major K361 ‘Gran Partita’)
07 – III Adagio (Serenade No. 10 in B Flat Major K361 ‘Gran Partita’)
08 – IV Menuetto – Allegretto (Serenade No. 10 in B Flat Major K361 ‘Gran Partita’)
09 – V Romanze – Adagio (Serenade No. 10 in B Flat Major K361 ‘Gran Partita’)
10 – VI Tema con Varizioni (Serenade No. 10 in B Flat Major K361 ‘Gran Partita’)
11 – VII Rondo (Serenade No. 10 in B Flat Major K361 ‘Gran Partita’)