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..
The effervescence of Lin's playing goes well with the approach to these works which Leppard makes explicit in his sleeve-note. Balanced rather more naturally than either Perlman (DG) or Mutter (EMI) on their rival versions of K218 Lin's extra delicacy goes with an easier manner with more fun in it, bringing out the light and shade. As Leppard puts it, with rococo pomposity and coquettish charm contrasted, ''the listener is forced to become, like Cherubino later, a reluctant member of the 18th century militia at one moment and a lover well-versed in 18th century courtesies the next''. The slow movement is most tenderly done, with a magically hushed final phrase from the soloist, while the humour of the finale is delectably pointed by soloist and conductor alike.(Edward Greenfield, Gramophone, 9/1988)