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Mozart en famille

Kuijken Trio (Challenge Classics)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Violin Sonata in C, K296; Duo for violin and viola in G, K423; Fantasie in D minor, K397; Clarinet Trio, K498 ‘Kegelstatt’
Kuijken Trio
Challenge CC 72902   66:06 mins

The Kuijken family, like the Mozarts, often played together, though each was a virtuoso on his or her own instrument – original ones, or copies of them. In this delightful recording, titled Mozart en famille, they perform some of Mozart’s works written to be played by his own family and/or friends, and so long as you enjoy the sounds that 18th-century instruments made you’ll find much to enjoy. It’s interesting, too, in that Mozart rarely wrote for these combinations. The Duo K423 is one of only two for these instruments, the violin and viola, and I would have welcomed K24 as well, instead of perhaps the Fantasie K397 for solo fortepiano, which is a striking but less interesting piece.

Each of these four works is an individual masterpiece, but the crown of them is the so-called ‘Kegelstatt’ Trio, Kegelstatt being German for ‘bowling alley’, where he composed while his competitors played. Only Mozart, under those circumstances, could have pulled off a masterpiece – or one could say two, one for violin with viola and piano, one with clarinet and piano. They are in the key of E flat, one of Mozart’s most ebullient, and they stand comparison with his great Piano Concerto and the Sinfonia Concertante in that key. If you enjoy Mozart on original instruments, this is the disc for you.

Michael Tanner

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