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Mozart: Flute Quartets Nos 1-4

Sonora Slocum (flute); Dover Quartet; Escher String Quartet (Acis Productions)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Mozart
Flute Quartets Nos 1-4
Sonora Slocum (flute); Dover Quartet; Escher String Quartet
Acis Productions APL98573   52:52 mins

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Ferdinand Dejean, a wealthy amateur flute player, commissioned Mozart to write three ‘easy and short’ concertos and a couple of quartets. Much to his father’s annoyance, Mozart never completed the task, citing his aversion to the flute; but the best of the quartets he did write, K285, is an attractive piece with a melancholy serenade-like slow movement in which the flute is accompanied by pizzicato strings throughout. The C major Quartet K285b, on the other hand, is almost certainly a forgery. Its first movement incorporates a ten-bar sketch by Mozart whose chromatic style sits rather awkwardly in its context, while the second movement is a workmanlike arrangement of the variations from the Serenade for 13 winds K361.

Sonora Slocum is principal flautist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and she plays all this music with obvious affection and considerable skill. Her warmth of tone for the slow movement of K285 is admirable, but the players make heavy weather of the variation themes in the quartets K285b and K298, both of which need to flow more naturally. The recording is on the dry side, placing the flute a little too close for comfort.

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Misha Donat