Mozart: Serenade in B flat, K361 (Gran partita); Serenade in E flat, K375; Serenade in C minor, K388; Sinfonia concertante in E flat, K297b; Concert Rondo in E flat, K371

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: ASV
WORKS: Serenade in B flat, K361 (Gran partita); Serenade in E flat, K375; Serenade in C minor, K388; Sinfonia concertante in E flat, K297b; Concert Rondo in E flat, K371
PERFORMER: CO of Europe/Alexander Schneider
CATALOGUE NO: CD COS 242 Reissue (1984-8)
These two discs usefully assemble the three greatest of Mozart’s wind serenades, plus the more problematic Sinfonia concertante for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn. Alexander Schneider (a former member of the famous Budapest String Quartet) was a fine musician, and with the winds of the COE at his disposal there is much to enjoy here. The austere C minor Serenade, K388, is particularly impressive, as are the outer movements of the E flat, K375. However, the operatic slow movement of the latter work sounds disappointingly matter-of-fact, and quite lacking in ecstasy. So, too, does the wonderful Adagio of the Serenade for 13 Winds, K361, whose throbbing accompaniment is too clearly articulated throughout. These pieces fare better in the unconducted Teldec recording (now deleted, but surely ripe for reissue) by virtually the same line-up of COE players. Of currently available versions of K361, Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century is perhaps the most satisfying all round. Misha Donat

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