Mozart: String Quartet in B flat, K458 (Hunt); Oboe Quartet in F, K370; Horn Quintet in E flat, K407

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: ASV
WORKS: String Quartet in B flat, K458 (Hunt); Oboe Quartet in F, K370; Horn Quintet in E flat, K407
PERFORMER: Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Stephen Bell (horn), Lindsay String Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 968
The ‘Hunt’ Quartet, the fourth of Mozart’s six ‘Haydn’ Quartets, receives a capable performance from the Lindsays. The 6/8 hunting rhythm of the first movement romps along playfully, while the courtly Menuet is urbane and graceful. Early promise isn’t quite matched in the serene Adagio; there’s some lumpy, unsympathetic phrasing here, especially in later variants of the principal subject. The dashing three-theme finale is energetically played, completing an alert, attractive performance with enough zest and fire to offset occasional weaknesses.

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The Lindsays are joined by oboist Nicholas Daniel in a well-ordered, mercurial account of Mozart’s Oboe Quartet. Daniel’s breath control and fine technique are eloquently displayed in the heart-rending D minor Adagio, and his infectiously spirited treatment of the Rondeau finale soon restores the genial mood.

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The Horn Quintet calls for an unorthodox string group with two violas. Composed for the Salzburg horn virtuoso (and cheese-merchant) Johann Leutgeb in 1782, its carefree atmosphere disguises its difficulties. Stephen Bell plays splendidly, and the Lindsays provide solid, discreet support, in a performance lacking only the last ounce of refinement. Michael Jameson