Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble & Trevor Pinnock - Mozart: Gran Partita - Gramophone

Trevor Pinnock knows a thing or two about Mozart and imparts to his youthful charges from the Royal Academy of Music all his enthusiasm for the Salzburger's greatest (and certainly largest) serenade. There's no other way to attempt this music than with a sense of playfulness and, in the two slow movements, deep inwardness, and on the whole these soloists match Mozart's expectations and provide a compelling performance.

Pinnock takes the first movement's Allegro molto marking at face value and drives through it as speedily as I've heard. Perhaps this results in a lack of characterisation, and little chance for the music to breathe in the rests that are so much a part of the main theme's stop-start progress. All comes right in the following Menuetto, however, and one becomes aware of the control these players are able to achieve, and especially the poetic oboe-playing of Thomas Blomfield. He is to the fore again in the work's most famous movement, the Adagio that made such an impression on Salieri, if Peter Shaffer's take on Mozart's life is to be believed. A full complement of repeats is taken and I noticed on a couple of slightly fluffed second oboe entries that might have prompted a retake. 

Haydn's G major Notturno, composed in the late 1780s for Ferdinand IV of Naples, introduces strings to the mix. Naturally a more complex piece than the Mozart, it is nevertheless a complete chamber. It's a three movement work in the urbane manner of Haydn's string quartets, scored in this version for flute, oboe, horns (who quite rightly don't hold back), violas and bass, and a pleasing rarity that rounds of a rather winning disc.

Gramophone
01 May 2016