F X Mozart

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COMPOSERS: F X Mozart
LABELS: Decca
ALBUM TITLE: F X Mozart – songs
WORKS: Sechs Lieder; Acht Deutsche Lieder
PERFORMER: Barbara Bonney (soprano)Malcolm Martineau
CATALOGUE NO: 475 6936
Born in the year of his father’s death,

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Franz Xaver was one of Mozart’s

two children (both male) to survive

into adulthood and the only one

to sustain a musical career, albeit

scarcely a high-flying one. A pupil

of distinguished teachers, including

his father’s rival Salieri and his pupil

Hummel, he toured as a pianist and

held a few appointments in central

and Eastern Europe, dying in

Carlsbad in 1844.

His own compositions include

cantatas and other choral works,

chamber music and a good deal

for the piano, on which he was

clearly an able performer. This

collection of songs covers roughly

the period 1810-30, and shows

him an equally able composer,

if quite some distance short of

a great one. The basic tone is of

the attractive lighter style of the

period known as Biedermeier. But

there’s a certain range here, with

an appealing narrative ballad and

charming setting (under the title of

Erinnerung) of a poem by Byron.

The sound is closely recorded,

and shows Barbara Bonney’s

tone hardening somewhat and

losing some of its pearly quality.

But she remains a perceptive

and musical performer, and is

astutely accompanied by Malcolm

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Martineau. George Hall