Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble & Trevor Pinnock - Mozart: Gran Partita - American Record Guide

Founded in 1822, the Royal Academy of Music in London is the oldest operating collegiate music school in Great Britain and one of the most renowned conservatories in the world. Here Trevor Pinnock leads one of the school’s most exclusive groups, the Soloists Ensemble, in one of the landmarks of the wind repertoire, the Mozart Serenade No. 10 in B-flat, Gran Partita.

The unusual Haydn Notturno No. 8 in G completes the program. Conceived for the private rooms of Naples monarch King Ferdinand IV, the original score includes two clarinets, two violas, two horns, and two lire organizzate, one of the king’s favorite instruments. When Haydn brought the piece with him to London in 1791, he observed that it would need more power in the large English concert halls, and he replaced the clarinets and the lire organizzate with flute, oboe, and violins.

Several fine recordings of the Mozart already exist, but the RAM Soloists offer a fantastic performance well worth hearing. The group plays with excellent clarity, balance, blend, technique, and intensity; and when Pinnock pushes the envelope on tempo in I and V, the students respond with clean and brilliant execution. The minuets are both regal and striking, and the slow movements are full of heartfelt beauty and lyricism. Only the Rondo finale is a bit strange—wonderfully played, but at a conservative speed. The Haydn is a nice complement, delivered with elegance and panache.

American Record Guide
17 August 2016