Mozart Serenades - SCO - ClassicsToday.com
The first thing you notice is the vibrant sound, the ensemble's immediacy and depth, giving a realistic spatial and sonic picture of the array of musicians and instruments performing in a very complementary acoustic. Then you have to appreciate the robust rhythmic character and clean articulation in the opening March K. 189, the companion piece to the following Serenade K. 185. Indeed, throughout the program you get the sure impression that these performers know and love Mozart, putting sufficient energy into each movement of each piece, granting each the appropriate character of Menuet or March, Andante grazioso or Allegro. The orchestra's gentle way with the thematic rhythms in the Serenade's Andante grazioso and the subtlety with which the players (and conductor) highlight this movement's slight but important mood shifts is a pure pleasure to hear.
Violinist/director Alexander Janiczek asks for tempos that neither blaze nor plod nor obscure the happy spirit of these primarily youthful works. As a soloist in the two Rondos and the lovely Adagio K. 261 Janiczek also provides tasteful cadenzas that highlight his expertly executed, personable, open-hearted style. And who can fail to be impressed with the Divertimento K. 113, a remarkably "mature" piece of orchestral writing that shows a 15-year-old composer already in control of techniques and thematic devices that would reappear in later, more famous, more extensively developed forms. This is a very well-played, thoughtfully programmed recording of works that are all too often ruined by casual, matter-of-fact treatment; if its primary purpose is entertainment, which it should be, then it succeeds admirably.