Mozart Colloredo Serenade & Divertimento - SCO & Alexander Janiczek - Audiophilia

Re-released as part of Linn's "echo" series, which "offers a second chance to enjoy the best of our award-winning catalogue", this disc found a ready audience with me. Having long held its sister recording of the Andretter Serenade (CKD287) in high regard, the fact that an audio equipment manufacturer of my acquaintance used to use this as a demo disc only increased my frustration at not having acquired it! Written at the end of his teens, while Mozart was still in the service of Archbishop Colloredo in his native Salzburg, the serenade's popular name assumed it to have been written for his employer - in fact, it was more likely intended for the University's end-of-year celebrations. Being absorbed in a complete edition of Mozart's symphonies when this disc arrived, my first reaction was of just how similar much of the Serenade appeared to a middle period symphony ... and a selection of its movements was, indeed, circulated as a symphony during the 1780s. But it also includes movements with extended solo episodes and prominent wind parts that are much less symphonic in character. The slightly later Divertimento is also an entertainment piece, bright and energetic, though designed on a smaller scale. No composer has ever expressed pure joy in music better than Mozart, and this charming work must be amongst his sunniest creations.
The SCO, at the time fresh from recording the late Mozart symphonies with Sir Charles Mackeras, is on top form here. That the recording quality strikes me as merely very good, rather than outstanding, is simply a reflection, I think, of a general raising of the bar in the 6 years since it was made. Unreservedly recommended. AF

04 September 2014