SCO Winds - Mozart: Divertimenti - American Record Review

Members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra present five of Mozart's sextets for two clarinets, two bassoons, and two horns. In the liner notes, American musicologist Robert Levin, a noted expert on Mozart, calls these scores "occasional" music, that is, recreational music for performers and audiences. The program begins with the original version of the Serenade in E-flat, K 375 and then proceeds with four diverimentos: 9 in B-flat, K 240, 12 in E-flat, K 252, 13 in F, K 253, and 14 in B-flat, K 270.

Nos. 9, 12, and 14 are written in a standard four-movement structure, each with a minuet, though No. 12 includes both a minuet and a polonaise. No. 13 begins with an extended theme and variations, followed by a short slow movement and a quick finale. The Serenade, written for Saint Theresa's Day in October 1781, is one of Mozart's few single-key works-all five movements are in E-flat. If some readers wonder where the oboes are, Levin tells us that Mozart likely added them a year later.

The concert is well played, full of the elegance, wit, and zest that conjures the mystique of a bygone era. Fingers are easy and effortless, articulated passages sparkle, and teamwork is generally excellent. 

01 July 2015