Notes and Editorial Reviews
Mozart's three great works for clarinet were written for the composer's friend and fellow-Mason Anton Stadler. The first two (the third is the Clarinet Concerto K. 622) are happily paired on this disc, which features the fluid playing of Pascal Moraguès, the Orchestre de Paris' solo clarinetist and a ubiquitous presence in various European chamber groups. In the Trio K. 498 he displays his lovely tone in a performance that stresses the serenade-like nature of the work, and if there's a bit more drama than he and his colleagues find in this work, their warmly relaxed playing is adequate recompense. Frank Braley's elegant pianism is a big plus here, his crisp phrasing and articulation an ideal match for the soloist's. The same might be
said of violist Vladimir Mendelssohn, though his tone sounds on the thin side (perhaps the result of microphone placement), so the lovely clarinet/viola duet in the Menuetto doesn't make its full impact.
In the Quintet there's little to quibble about--from the gentle warmth of the strings at the opening of the work you know you're in for an exemplary central-European-style reading. Here, the Prazák Quartet and Moraguès expertly judge phrasing and coloring, giving full due to the shadows lurking behind the Quintet's sunny exterior. The Larghetto is a touching romanza, the clarinet singing an introspective operatic aria, a first cousin to the Countess' aria in The Marriage of Figaro and the slow movements of the near-contemporaneous Piano Concertos. Moraguès and his partners also are on target in the Menuetto, nicely moving from the first trio for strings to the dance-like second trio where the soloist displays a beautifully rounded tone. The final variation movement, ranging from the melancholy to virtuoso showpiece to charming rusticity, is a delight. A recording by another Czech quartet, the Talich (on Calliope), offers a more animated reading of the Quintet with a more expansive Larghetto that sings even more affectingly, but Moraguès and the Prazáks offer a sterling, equally valid account.
This is a hybrid multichannel SACD disc, but the CD layer in stereo offers fine sound. Aside from the viola imbalances in the Trio, that work, with its closer microphoning, is a bit more immediate; the Quintet, heard from farther back in the hall, also is good, though I'd have preferred a more detailed sonic image. On a more modest SACD player, the stereo sound of the SACD layer was substantially the same.
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A major, K 581 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Pascal Moraguès (Clarinet),
Michal Kanka (Cello),
Vlastimil Holek (Violin),
Václav Remes (Violin),
Josef Kluson (Viola)
Prazák String Quartet
Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 01/13/2002
Venue: Marseille, France
Length: 31 Minutes 5 Secs.
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