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Mozart: Wind Concertos

Olivier Stankiewicz (oboe), Andrew Marriner (clarinet), Timothy Jones (horn); London Symphony Orchestra/Jaime Martín (LSO Live)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Horn Concerto No. 2; Oboe Concerto; Clarinet Concerto; Sinfonia concertante; Serenade No. 10 ‘Gran Partita’
Olivier Stankiewicz (oboe), Andrew Marriner (clarinet), Timothy Jones (horn); London Symphony Orchestra/Jaime Martín
LSO Live LSO 0855 (CD/SACD)   141:18 mins (2 discs)

You would expect the principal woodwind players of a team in the London Symphony Orchestra’s league to perform at stellar technical level. Even more striking, and highly appealing besides, is the musical spirit that’s in evidence here throughout, and which suits Mozart’s music to near perfection. A sequence of alert and personable orchestral accompaniments under Jaime Martín (slightly reduced vibrato from the strings) underpins solo playing that reflects the different solo characters involved in, as it happens, three very different works. If the Second Horn Concerto gives Timothy Jones rather less fine material to work with than his colleagues, Olivier Stankiewicz engages happily with the Oboe Concerto’s inventive poise, and includes two contrasted solo cadenzas – super-virtuoso in the first movement, much simpler in the finale – showing how a fine all-round musician can deliver both ways.

Andrew Marriner’s approach to the Clarinet Concerto offers a similar kind of unpretentious mastery; the loveliness of the Adagiosecond movement’s main theme here really does seem to be coming to us from some other musical planet. Besides Jones’s presence again, the Sinfonia concertante for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn features a different and equally fine solo line-up in Juliana Koch, Chris Richards and Rachel Gough. And the 13-strong team assembled for the Gran Partita Serenade confirm its status as one of Mozart’s fabulous masterworks in the genre, with playing that’s winsome, stylish and, in the ‘Theme and Variations’ sixth of the seven movements, mesmerisingly gorgeous.

Malcolm Hayes