MOZART Divertimentos: Nos. 1–5, K 439. Nocturnes: Due pupille amabili; Se lontan, ben mio, tu sei; Ecco quell fiero istante; Mi lagnerò tacendo; Luci care, luci belle; Più non si trovano. Adagios: in F, K 94; in B?, K 411 • Marinella Pennichi (sop); Gloria Banditelli (mez); Sergio Foresti (bs); Anthony Pay (cl); Qrt Martesana •Read more class="ARIAL12"> CONCERTO 2023 (2 CDs: 103:09 Text and Translation)
The Quartetto Martesana is comprised of four musicians who play clarinets and basset horns, and here they record the pieces that Mozart wrote, probably for the Stadler brothers, to perform in home gatherings. Those must have been jolly times, with talented musicians at play with new music by the reigning genius of the era. This is my third recording of these collected works, the divertimentos, and the six nocturnes for a trio of voices and basset horn/clarinets, and the two adagios. Both the discs by the winds of the Chicago Symphony and those by the clarinetists of the Berlin Philharmonic make wonderful listening. Recorded in 1990, the Berlin Philharmonic set on Orfeo has Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in a modest role as the baritone in the vocal trio. The Berlin recording has the great clarinetist Karl Leister: it also features a bassoon on the low end. This new collection has Anthony Pay, not quite a Karl Leister to my ears, and a basset horn on the bottom. It is very closely recorded: one hears the breath of the musicians and the click of their keys. The group takes tempos that are often considerably faster than the Berlin group. I found it best to listen to them with the volume turned down a bit. That said, they play the music with verve and with beautiful tones. The Italian singers seem reconciled to this lovely, but unchallenging, music. I think readers who have either of the earlier sets can rest easy with them. Otherwise, with a little less than two hours of Mozart at his most playful and sometimes most lyrical, this new collection on Concerto is a good bet.