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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Oboe Concerto in C, K314(285d) [18:17]
Bassoon Concerto in Bb, K191 (186c) [16:15]
Flute and Harp Concerto in C, K299 (297c) [26:12]
Marcel Ponseele (oboe), Marc Vallon (bassoon), Wilbert Hazelzet (flute), Saskia Kwast (harp), The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra/Ton Koopman
Recorded in the Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem, May 1993
WARNER ELATUS 2564 61569-2 [61:19]

This bargain re-issue of three of Mozartís most popular concertos features soloists who, in three out of four cases at any rate, play on period instruments. The fourth and possible exception is Saskia Kwast, who may be playing on a modern concert harp. My apologies if Iím wrong, but Iíve been unable to check that.

These are, on the whole, stylish and attractive performances. Koopman directs the accompaniments and tuttis in an alert and sympathetic manner, and his soloists are mostly equal to the task of projecting the music. However, despite his accomplished playing, I find the sound of Marc Vallonís 18th century bassoon far too dull in tone to be acceptable. I just donít believe that Mozart or Haydn would have been drawn, as they clearly were, to an instrument so devoid of colour and flexibility. Indeed, Vallonís playing disappears into the undergrowth alarmingly quickly at the merest hint of forte in the orchestra. Not for me, I fear, especially when there are wonderful versions on modern instruments by such as Thunemann and Zeman.

Marcel Ponseele, the oboist, is much more interesting to listen to, even though his tone is still lacking in reedy brightness. However, his cadenzas are models of brevity, and I found this an enjoyable enough performance. The finest item on the disc, though, is the delightful account of the Concerto for Flute and Harp. This work greatly benefits from the simple and fresh approach of all involved, and its charm can be felt all the more strongly for it. Those interested in textual issues might like to listen carefully to the slow movement (track 8) between 2:50 and 3.10, though; B or Bb? The excellent Hazelzet on his Baroque flute gives us the former, while Kwast plucks out the latter - take your pick!

Competition is very strong in the area of Mozart concertos, but this disc is, given its price, thoroughly recommendable for the Flute and Harp Concerto alone.

Gwyn Parry-Jones

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