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SCO Winds - Mozart: Divertimenti - McAlister Matheson Music


09 February 2015
McAlister Matheson Music
Anne McAlister

In 2012 we had the pleasure of hearing some of the SCO's principal wind players on a fine recording of Weber wind concertos. They are excellent chamber musicians too, as this new disc featuring the SCO Wind Sextet (two clarinets, two bassoons and two horns) proves.

They have chosen an all-Mozart programme that works well: the accomplished Serenade in E flat K375, the most substantial work on the disc, and four of the five Tafelmusik sextets. (Robert Levin' s booklet essay makes comforting sense of the confusing world of Mozart's ‘occasional' music, clarifying distinctions between divertimenti, serenades, Tafelmusik and so forth.)

Mozart later adapted the Serenade K375 for the standard wind octet which includes two oboes, but here it is heard in its original version. The first chords are striking in their colouring and directness, the main theme that follows imbued with a jaunty wistfulness. The use of natural horns adds spice to the textures, and the central slow movement is a feast of beautiful playing, a liquid melody passing between different instruments and contrasting with a bubbling arpeggiated figure. These musicians may be heard more often playing in the orchestra, but they approach this music as soloists. Combining this approach with high levels of musicianship, virtuosity and technical expertise, the result has a vibrancy and purpose without any loss of grace and eloquence.

The four Divertimenti that follow the Serenade are equally rewarding. Mozart's variety of invention never ceases to amaze, whether in the music itself or the nature and order of the individual movements. Buy the disc, and prepare to be charmed, amazed and delighted!


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