Notes and Editorial Reviews
Performers these days are having fun with Mozart’s Serenata notturna, and good luck to them. The notion of “serious music” is all very well, but Mozart was a droll fellow—remember the story of how he discombobulated Schikaneder, when the latter was singing Papageno in their joint creation The Magic Flute, by playing an extra twiddle on his backstage glockenspiel?—and I think he would have enjoyed some of the recent revels around this charming work.
In the mixed-repertoire album “After Mozart,” which I reviewed in Fanfare 25:3, Gidon Kremer, with his Kremerata Baltica ensemble, gave rein in the course of the Rondeau to some punctuating instrumental cadenzas that developed at times into virtual jam sessions. What Petra
Müllejans does here with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra is perhaps a shade less outrageous, because it’s not so deliberately anachronistic, but I find the solo riffs offered by double-bass player Love Persson, timpanist Charlie Fischer, and their colleagues even more infectiously enjoyable.
Both here and in the three delicious early Divertimentos, matters of style are well looked after, with judicious melodic embellishments where appropriate, and all repeats including those in the da capo of the Serenata notturna Minuet observed; Ms. Müllejans even follows traditional serenade practice by reprising K 239’s opening March by way of conclusion. Orchestral playing throughout is excellent, with a bias toward dry tone that makes such dissonances as the semitonal clashes between first and second violins in the Andante of K 138 particularly effective. The instruments used sound like period instruments, but I would not swear to that—they could just be modern instruments played by people who really understand the style. One of the most cheering things about the present state of performance practice is, indeed, that record companies are beginning sometimes, as may well be the case here, not to mention the use of period instruments, while the technical proficiency and musical judgment of their practitioners on the one hand, and the reciprocal stylistic insight of modern-instrument players on the other, are making it increasingly hard for even an experienced listener to know which he is hearing. Thus we are left freer to take the sound for granted and concentrate instead on the music, which is splendidly served on this delightful disc.
Bernard Jacobson, FANFARE
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