Eine kleine Nachtmusik (La Petite Musique de Nuit) Divertimento KV 136 Les petits riens (Ballet Suite) Adagio aus/from Serenade »Gran Partita« Ouvertüren aus / Overtures from Der Schauspieldirektor Die Zauberflöte
Int. Release 03 Jul. 2006
0289 477 5800 6
Concerto Köln offers a fiery reading of Mozart’s finest orchestral highlights
Concerto Köln has a distinctive timbre and never-flagging excitement that are sometimes referred to as the 'Cologne sound'. These are qualities found in abundance in this recital. The ferocious account of the first work on the disc, the "Magic Flute" Overture, has the impact of an electric storm, which, with "Les Petits riens"; clears to brilliant pastoral sunlight . . . the joyous, roistering performances here should earn it many new admirers . . . Concerto Köln's wind players are among the best in the world and they keep their sometimes truculent instruments immaculately . . .
Record Review /
International Record Review (London) / 01. September 2006
Es wären . . . nicht die Kölner, wenn sie nicht etwas Besonderes angedacht hätten. Die "Zauberflöten"-Ouvertüre streicht endlich das Volkstümliche, das Vogelsängerische dieser einstigen "Vorstadtposse¿ hervor, manchmal muss dieser erfrischende Mozart ein kongenialer und witziger Ahne von Rossini gewesen sein. Auch der polternde "Schauspieldirektor¿ (mit virtuosen Fagott-Läufen) passt ins gleiche Umfeld, und die "Petits Riens¿ bieten meist Ohrwürmer in possierlicher Aufmachung. Gut macht die Aufnahme die tolle Klangregie Mozarts hörbar; schön auch, dass ein sonst verpöntes Cembalo -- diskret immer dabei -- auftritt, das damals sicherlich mitzirpte. Das verleiht dem Divertimento wie der "Nachtmusik¿ zusätzliche Klangreize. Somit ein schönes Konzeptalbum zum Jubiläum in ansprechender Klangkulisse. Empfohlen nicht nur CK-Fans, sondern allen, die eine interessante alternative Version hören möchten.
Record Review /
Hifi & Records / 01. July 2006
In der "Kleinen Nachtmusik" werden von Concerto Köln die Themen zu opernhaften Figuren ausgebildet: fragend, stürmend, insistierend, behauptend und antwortend . . . Im Adagio aus der "Gran Partita" B-Dur brilliert die Bläserfraktion des Orchesters . . . Oboe, Klarinette und das von Mozart so geliebte Bassetthorn verbinden sich zu einem Terzett vollständig aufeinander bezogener Charaktere, fast zu einer kleinen Theaterszene, so als wäre sie von Goethe oder Wieland klassischerweise in Verse gesetzt worden. Im Divertimento D-Dur KV 125a zeigen die Streicher des Orchesters, dass eine differenzierte Artikulation bei Mozart schon die halbe Miete ist. Wenn zum Beispiel der Nachsatz des Themas im Finale plötzlich ganz kurz gestoßen auf den Stegen gespielt wird und so fast geräuschhaft klingt, ist das jedes Mal ein Überraschungseffekt, weil es jedes Mal anders klingt. Auch das ist theatermäßiges Musizieren.
Record Review /
Fono Forum (Euskirchen) / 01. October 2006
Voici une "Nachtmusik" à la fois voluptueuse et dynamique, aux sonorités palpitantes et débarrassées de toute préciosité. Les attaques des cordes sont tranchantes et profilées, les basses turbulentes, les tempo allègres . . . Dans le Divertimento KV 136 (la première des prétendues trois symphonies salzbourgeoises), les archets sont encore plus affûtes et la formation d'une homogénéité sans faille: a-t-on entendu Allegro initial plus stimulant, Andante rendu avec autant de nuances ténébreuses et finale aussi exubérant?
Record Review /
Diapason (Paris) / 01. September 2006
... Concerto Köln conjuga todo el espectro de colores mozartianos con cristalina serenidad. ... las versiones aquí recogidas ... llevan a los instrumentos históricos al límite más óptimo de sus posibilidades, sin incurrir en tempos rígidos ni sonoridades metalizadas.
Record Review /
Melómano (Madrid) / 01. June 2006
. . . haciendo interesantes y divertidas, vitales, intensas, las breves piezas que Mozart creó para un ballet (Les Petit Riens) parisino. Un disco que es una sucesión de sorpresas, antídoto contra las integrales y una forma diferente de interpretar a Mozart. La más adecuada, quizás, para el final de este año mozartiano.
Record Review /
Audioclásica (Madrid) / 01. November 2006
Mozart - Concerto Köln
Two hundred and fifty years after his birth, how much do we really know about the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? One thing we think we know better than previous generations - and have certainly paid more attention to - is how it might have sounded in his own time. The ensemble Concerto Köln has for many years been in the forefront both of playing on period instruments and of performing Mozart in appropriate style, and here it brings its historically informed approach to bear on a cross-section of orchestral music. The clear articulation of the strings (with violins divided left and right), the individual colours of the wind, and the rhythmic support of the harpsichord - a regular feature of even the later 18th-century orchestra - can all be heard in the sparkling Overture to the 1786 one-act comedy Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario). And three trombones, instruments normally associated in the Classical period with church music or with supernatural effects in opera, make an immediate impact in the more serious Overture to Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), from the last months of Mozart's life.
While the scores of both these operas exist in definitive editions and their history is well documented, there are other works by Mozart about which, despite accumulated mountains of scholarship, we know far less. For example, there is his contribution to the ballet score Les Petits Riens, "The Trifles" or "Sweet Nothings", written soon after his arrival in Paris in May 1778 for a production at the Opéra in early June. Mozart later told his father that "six pieces in it are composed by others and are made up of wretched old French airs, while the overture and contredanses, about twelve pieces in all, have been contributed by me" (Emily Anderson's translation). Unfortunately, the work has survived only in a copyist's score without any composers' names, so scholars have had to guess which movements are by Mozart on the basis of quality and style - a particularly risky method of identifying pieces in which he would have been adapting his normal musical language to foreign manners. To follow the Overture - a lively piece, if oddly rooted to its home key - Concerto Köln places its exuberantly inventive playing style at the service of ten dances. Seven are confidently attributed to Mozart, while the others - including No. 5, an Agité for strings with some of the hallmarks of Mozart's distinctive "G minor style" - are considered more doubtful.
Even when the existence of an autograph score leaves no question about Mozart's authorship, there are other issues, which are more difficult to resolve. For example, were the three Divertimenti for strings (K. 136 to K. 138) that Mozart composed in Salzburg in early 1772 intended for soloists or a larger group? There is evidence to support both theories. In K. 136, Concerto Köln opts for orchestral performance, but with a small group of ten strings and harpsichord. And, since Salzburg divertimenti (and string quartets) normally had more than three movements, while symphonies and overtures usually included wind, what was their purpose? This question is all the more intriguing because, as Stanley Sadie wrote in his posthumously published Mozart: the Early Years, "these three short works are full of a kind of spirited invention otherwise unfamiliar in Mozart at this time". The two (thematically related) quick movements of K. 136 both exemplify the balance and momentum of what had not yet been identified as sonata form. And between them comes an Andante capturing almost uncannily the poised galant manner of Mozart's early mentor J. C. Bach.
Equally mysterious is the intended function of the great wind Serenade or Gran Partita for an unprecedentedly large group of 13 players - pairs of oboes, clarinets, basset-horns (alto clarinets) and bassoons and four horns, with a string double bass - which Mozart composed probably in 1781 or '82 in Vienna. A passage inserted into one of the composer's letters in the 1828 biography of him written by Georg Nikolaus Nissen with his wife, Mozart's widow Constanze, suggests that the piece might have been played at the Mozarts' wedding breakfast in August 1782. But the earliest recorded performance, at least of four of the seven movements, was at a concert presented by the clarinettist Anton Stadler in March 1784. And though it is not known which four movements were played on that occasion, the Adagio third movement - in which first oboe, first clarinet and first basset-horn intertwine over an almost constant syncopated accompaniment - would certainly have qualified for the work's description in a review of the concert: "glorious and grand, excellent and sublime".
Even one of the most popular of all Mozart's works, Eine kleine Nachtmusik or "A Little Serenade" for strings, is surrounded by questions about its nature and its purpose. Its date is firmly established: Mozart entered it into the catalogue of his compositions on 10 August 1787, while he was also working on Don Giovanni for Prague. But, as with K. 136, it is not certain whether he intended it for soloists or orchestra. The instrument names on the score are singular, but the lowest of the four lines is marked for cello and double bass, and the style seems essentially orchestral - as the performance by eleven members of Concerto Köln confirms. Nor is it clear what function the work might have served in Viennese or Bohemian musical life. And a further puzzle concerns the original second movement, a minuet and trio, listed in the catalogue but apparently removed from the autograph. In the end, however, what we can confidently say about the remaining four movements is that with their balanced forms, fluent melodic continuity and immaculate instrumental writing they constitute a perfect miniature symphony by one of the most perfectionist of composers. And that matters more than all the things we do not know, and may never know, about the man and his music.