Mozart; Britten; Dohnányi

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COMPOSERS: Mozart; Britten; Dohnányi
LABELS: Sony
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart; Britten; Dohnányi
WORKS: Oboe Quartet – Mozart; Three arias from Die Zauberflöte – Mozart; Adagio in C minor, K580a – Mozart; Phantasy Quartet – Britten; Serenade in C, Op. 10 – Dohnányi
PERFORMER: François Leleux (oboe), Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Lawrence Power (viola), Sebastian Klinger (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 88697285852

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It’s a delightful prospect: the two finest quartets for oboe and strings, played by the high-profile husband-and-wife team of François Leleux and Lisa Batiashvili together with two excellent chamber musicians in Lawrence Power and Sebastian Klinger. And the results don’t disappoint. Mozart’s mini-concerto is lit up by Leleux’s bright but flexible tone and impeccable tonguing, and by a few neat added ornaments. The teenage Britten’s single-movement Phantasy is played with well-observed detail; the strings shape the central slow section beautifully towards its arresting climax, and the oboe’s free-time re-entry is perfectly judged. An outstanding recording ensures perfect balance, too. The strings on their own revel in Dohnányi’s ingenious and genial Serenade: a more extrovert performance, perhaps, than the one on Hyperion by the Leopold Trio (also including Power), but none the worse for that. Leleux displays wonderfully rounded cor anglais tone in a completion of Mozart’s unfinished Adagio (probably in fact intended for clarinet and basset-horns), though a slower tempo would have brought out its solemnity better. And Leleux and Batiashvili duet companionably in three numbers from The Magic Flute, using a contemporary transcription for flutes or violins: Papageno’s aria sounds jolly, Pamina’s touching, the Queen of the Night’s faintly ludicrous. Anthony Burton