This new release highlights some of Mozart’s lesser-known works, all for string trio: the Divertimento in E flat major, KV 563 and two of the Fugues with slow Preludes from the set of six, KV 404a (after Bach). The Divertimento, KV 563 is not only Mozart’s sole large-scale composition for string trio, it is also one of the first works ever written for the combination of violin, viola, and cello. It was composed in 1788, the same year as three of Mozart’s greatest and best-known works, the symphonies in E flat, G minor, and C (the ‘Jupiter’). Mozart was at the absolute height of his powers as a composer, and at the premiere of the divertimento in Dresden in 1789, he himself played the viola part.
Authentic and authoritative, these 1985 recordings of Mozart and Beethoven's quintets for piano and winds have almost everything going for them. Performing on a pianoforte modeled on a 1790 Viennese instrument, Jos van Immerseel is an adroit player, while the quartet drawn from the period instrument wind band Octophoros – Paul Dombrecht on oboe, Elmar Schmid on clarinet, Piet Dombrecht on horn, and Danny Bond on bassoon – are likewise all skillful instrumentalists. But while their playing is beyond contention – listen to their keen balances, their smooth ensemble, their unified rhythms – their interpretations miss the one thing that defines these works: their sense of fun..
Known for having elevated the symphony and the opera to popular levels in his lamentably short life, Mozart was also substantially involved in sacred music. Among many smaller works for solo chorus and for combined choral/orchestral forces, he composed an enormous seventeen settings of the Latin Mass, of which this is his last. But this C Minor mass, which is said he composed in 1782 and 1783, was never really completed in a way Mozart found satisfactory, and thus it has been up to others to put this work into coherent form. The recording here is based on the reconstruction done by Salzburg composer and musicologist Helmut Eder; he worked on the "Et Incanatus Est" section of the Credo, as well as the concluding Sanctus and Benedictus sections. The work is still Mozart's, and is scored for a fairly substantial orchestra: one flute; pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns, and trumpets; three trombones; timpani; organ; and the full string compliment, plus four soloists and chorus.
Part of Warner's Mozart 250th Anniversary Edition, this set of 12 discs contains all the complete piano sonatas and violin sonatas, most of the works for piano duet, and several solo piano works. The recordings all date from the late '80s to early '90s and have very good sound. The solo piano works are all performed by Swiss pianist Karl Engel, while the duets are by sisters Güher and Süher Pekinel.