Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Leopold Mozart, Donald Armstrong, New Zealand Chamber Orchestra|
Leopold Mozart: Sinfonias
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
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M. C. Passarella | Lawrenceville, GA | 05/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reportedly, Leopold Mozart was an erudite man. Certainly, he was serious enough of purpose to just about abandon composing in order to nurture the talent of one he knew would make a greater contribution to music than he ever could hope to. But on the evidence of the music by which he's known today (not too well known at that), Leopold was an amiable guy capable of putting aside that great learning to produce pleasant little entertainments such as the Toy Symphony and Musical Sleigh Ride. In fact, there is some question about whether he authored the Toy Symphony, but listening to the Sinfonia da caccia on the present disc, I'm convinced he probably did. The Sinfonia is in the same vein: Not only does it include the de rigueur horn calls we expect in 18th-century hunt music from the likes of Haydn, Mehul, and others, but Mozart also demands sound effects, on this disc supplied electronically in the form of recorded musket shots, braying dogs, the clop of horses' hooves, and the shouts of a particularly lusty group of hunters. The music itself is good enough that you probably won't say, "OK, I've heard that now," but you'll want to return to it, at least on occasion. By the way, the elegant little minuet that forms the last movement bears enough resemblance to the slow movement of the Toy Symphony to stand as further evidence of a common authorship.
The Sinfonia pastorale, with a big obbligato part for the alpenhorn, has some of the suavity and grace of Leopold's well-known Trumpet Concerto, plus some interesting attempts to create the harmonies and rhythms of country dance music. Quite enjoyable.
The symphonies for strings that round out the disc are in the usual fast-slow-fast format favored by the Mannheim symphonists. They're modest little works, but they share some of the open-air playfulness and boisterousness of the Sinfonia da Caccia. So they're a bit more memorable than many of the early Classical symphonies you hear.
The performances from New Zealand are polished and properly good natured, while the sound is fine. Great music this is not, but if you'd like to hear what Wolfgang's father and mentor wrote before he turned his attentions to other matters, this disc provides an attractive sampling of Leopold's art."