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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
La Flûte enchantée pour trois cors de basset et timbales - The Magic Flute
Le Trio di Bassetto: Jean-Claude Veilhan; Éric Lorho; Jean-louis Gauch
Michèle Claude (percussion)
Recorded in Paris on 23-25 February, 1999
K617 K617097 [62.35]

 

Experience Classicsonline

This sounds as bizarre as it looks on paper, Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte without singers but for three basset horns and percussion instead. Frankly it does not work. After a while the sound is awfully monotonous and monochrome, and some of the condensing of Mozart’s harmony and orchestral textures just does not succeed, producing thin and reedy results. The last adjective one could use to describe this extraordinary idea is ‘magical’. The strange (generally overfast) speeds and inclusion of recitative only make matters worse. The three players apparently came to the conclusion that ‘with the use of our three basset-horns we were under the illusion that all the singers, wind and string instruments were represented, however an essential element was missing, the heart of the orchestra in fact: the timpani, with their joyful, dramatic or ritual impulses as required in the score.’ Regrettably it goes much further than this with the whole concept utterly misguided - it would take more than timpani to save the day.

For lovers of the basset-horn this may be worthwhile but on the whole I’d stay well away from this version of The Magic Flute and buy the original version; you’ll find it at all good record shops filed under 'Opera'.

Christopher Fifield



 



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