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The Wind Serenades of Mozart, plus Cosi fan tutte & The Marriage of Figaro: 2 CD set
The three original works by Mozart recorded here are without question among the finest (and most serious) works ever conceived for the medium. While they are among the most performed of all wind music, the circumstances an... more »
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The three original works by Mozart recorded here are without question among the finest (and most serious) works ever conceived for the medium. While they are among the most performed of all wind music, the circumstances and dates of their composition remain shrouded in controversy. A number of studies and several events of the last 25 years have shed important light on the background and chronology of the three pieces. The wind octet consisting of pairs of oboes, clarinets, horns, and bassoons was one of the most popular instrumental combinations of the Classic and early Romantic eras. It had a special name?Harmoniemusik?which only later became used as a general term for any combination of wind instruments. The three original works by Mozart recorded here are without question among the finest (and most serious) works ever conceived for the medium. Arrangements of operas, such as these by Giovanni Went (Johann Nepomuk Wendt), were commonly made in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, primarily as courtly entertainment. In a performance like this, the specific dramatic situation of each aria seems insignificant. Meant as entertaining background music, these excerpts should be joyously familiar to many listeners. © 2002 Robert Levin
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A mutual peak
Frank W. Barham | Greenbank, WA USA | 08/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These performances of the three great Wind Serenades vie with those led by Sabine Meyer on EMI for my heart of hearts. Some relentless carper in the back of my mind suggests that the Meyer versions may seem slightly starchy. At any rate both sets deserve the pantheon. I particularly like the horn-playing on the Philomusica set, but then there is excellence everywhere, clarinets, oboes, bassoons, basset horns. The double album includes Wendt's arrangements for winds of excerpts from Figaro and Cosi Fan Tutte. Zestful and delightful. Beautifully played and recorded, and reasonably priced, this album should not be missed. It represents Mozart's music and American wind-playing at a mutual peak.
-Frank W. Barham"
Performed with real personality, and great sound
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 12/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This vivacious set of Mozart's three great wind serenades doesn't list a conductor, which makes it all the more remarkable that the performances are so filled with personaity. The nY Phiomusica has been around for 35 years under one name or another, and it includes top-flight New York free lances. Their skill certainly shows, but I keep returning to how flexible and engaging their phrasing is. Grouped winds, even when the players are expert, tend to sound stiff, like a concert band. That's not true here -- as the reviewer below implies these readings make Sabine Meyer's (and many others) sound starchy.
The sound is vivid and close up, taking you onstage into the hert of the ensemble. Since the Allegros are loud and brash, that means that the sonics aren't always mellow, but that's my only reservation. As someone who has loved the Gran Partita for forty years, it's a pleasure to welcome a version so full of good humor and charm. The wind arrangements of bits from Figaro and Cosi make for nice Tafelmusik fillers."