Mozart: Wind Serenades

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

WORKS: Wind Serenades
PERFORMER: Amadeus Winds
CATALOGUE NO: 458 096-2 Reissue (1987-91)
The generous collection on these two discs, comprising Mozart’s three great wind serenades coupled with four of the lighter sextets, all played on period instruments, provides some wonderfully engaging performances. The two Serenades for wind octet, K375 and K388, performed unconducted, make especially compelling listening and reinforce their position as unsurpassed masterpieces of the genre. The glorious Serenade or ‘Gran Partita’, K361, conducted here by Christopher Hogwood, is the most substantial piece and this recording, unlike that of the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, is clearly informed by reference to the autograph score, resulting in some quite radical changes to phrasing and articulation. One of the principal features of this work is the extraordinary range of instrumental colours that Mozart draws from the 13 players, and the use of period instruments, which naturally blend less smoothly than their modern counterparts, heightens this contrast of timbres. The tempi of the Amadeus Winds rendition, consistently faster than those of the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, are very persuasive, particularly in the first movement where the Allegro molto, which often feels too ponderous, is played with great spirit and vividly conveys a feeling of real joy. For those not unduly concerned with the slightly rougher sounds of period instruments, this recording has much to offer. Tim Payne