Mozart: Oboe Quartet in F, K370; Clarinet Quartet in B flat, after K317d; String Quartet in D, K575

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Oboe Quartet in F, K370; Clarinet Quartet in B flat, after K317d; String Quartet in D, K575
PERFORMER: Marc Schachman (oboe), Eric Hoeprich (clarinet), Artaria Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: HMU 907107 DDD
The curiosity here is the Clarinet Quartet – an arrangement of the Violin Sonata K378 that may well have been made by the publisher and composer Johann Anton André, who issued Mozart’s unpublished manuscripts after his death. The transcription is surprisingly convincing, though it is very much dominated by the clarinet. The remaining two works here are presented in normal guise. The quartet K370 was written for the most celebrated oboist of the day, Friedrich Ramm; while K575 is the first in the group of three string quartets Mozart intended for the cello-playing King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia.

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There is much to enjoy on this disc, and a great deal of care and attention have clearly gone into the performances. At times, indeed, the playing seems rather too careful and studied, as though so much effort had been concentrated in perfecting individual phrases that the music’s elegance and charm had been forgotten. The Andante of K575, in particular, is slow and laboured; and the curious hesitation in its penultimate bar is a mannerism that affects several of these performances. Misha Donat