Notes and Editorial Reviews
K 246, 334
Orazio Tuccella, cond; Officina Musicale
FUGA LIBERA 560 (74:24)
There is a more than usually dramatic story behind this disc and its performers, Officina Musicale. The group, here consisting of five string players and two on the natural horn, was based in the Italian town of l’Aquila, known as the “city of 99 churches.” On July 6, 2009, the city was devastated by an earthquake. Orazio Tuccella, the band’s leader, and his wife survived when they
jumped out of a window of their collapsing house. All of his property, scores as well as instruments, was destroyed, and the town abandoned. The next September, Officina Musicale assembled in a local convent to make this recording of some of Mozart’s most cheerful music, which the players dedicate to their lost city, L’Aquila.
These small-band performances are very different from the nuanced recording of K 334, for instance, led by Herbert von Karajan, or the elegant recordings by Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. I am of two minds about the performances. The opening movement in K 334, the larger and more important of the two works, is frankly delightful, poised and lively. Though just as detailed and clearly recorded, the next movement, however, is slower than most performances, and seems to drag. I wish for a little more spirit even in the Haydnesque countryish trio of the next movement. Even Karajan takes the Andante of K 334 at a faster clip, and he makes it sound more lively. That said, the recording is natural-sounding, the ensemble tight, the horns dramatic. If the playing doesn’t have the weight of other performances, that is essentially by choice. I find much, but not all, of the playing of these two divertimenti appealing.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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