One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Music for Oboe and Strings
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-91)

Oboe Quartet in F major, K370
Bernhard Henrik CRUSELL (1775-1838)

Divertimento in C major, Op 9
Johann Christian BACH (1735-82)

Oboe Quartet in B flat major, B60
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-91)

Oboe Quintet in C minor, K406 (K388)
Max Artved (oboe), Elise Båtnes (violin), Tue Lautrup (violin, viola), Dimitri Golovanov (viola), Lars Holm Johansen (cello)
recorded at the Danish Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen, 11-14 January 2002
NAXOS 8.557361 [56'52"]


This well-planned programme of known, half-known and unknown18th century music - the sort of thing Naxos does so well - squeezes two welcome rarities between much more familiar Mozart pieces.

The best known here is the wholly delightful Oboe Quartet in F, K370 - a fun-piece if ever there was one, despite venturing briefly into the minor-key shade in its beautiful slow movement.

The Crusell Divertimento (scored for the same combination as both K370 and Bach) dates from 1822. It’s more of a concerto piece than the rest of the disc, requiring a virtuosic almost operatic personality from the soloist. Don’t underestimate it before you hear it! It’s beautifully crafted, and - as you might expect from an albeit minor contemporary of Weber, Schubert and Bellini - there’s an abundance of early-Romantic colouring, despite its obviously-Classical roots. Every commonplace idea is balanced by an agreeable surprise.

The London Bach’s two-movement Quartet is elegant and diverting, as almost always, but pretty lightweight.

Most of us will find the so-called ‘Oboe Quintet’ - the most substantial item, however you measure substance - the most interesting. I was referring to this piece when I spoke of ‘half-known’ Mozart in my introduction. No mere curiosity, this is in fact the same piece as the Serenade in C minor (dating from 1782) for two oboes, two clarinets, two horns and two bassoons, which Mozart himself arranged and published five or six years later as the String Quintet in C minor. Its appearance here in an uncredited arrangement for oboe and string quartet is, if I may be forgiven for using the word, wholly ‘viable’. Doubly so, because it uses two violas instead of two violins (like the Horn Quintet, K407 - an admirable precedent) in order better to preserve the scoring of contrasted pairs inherent in both of Mozart’s versions. Of course an Oboe Quintet thus constituted manages to be a near-perfect compromise between the sound worlds of Wind Octet and String Quintet. Unauthentic though it may be it has no problem justifying itself. One can hardly object to the preponderance of the solo oboe, either, as this is an undoubted characteristic of the original Serenade, testing as it does the stamina of even the most experienced players. Only in the extraordinary inverted double counterpoint of the Menuetto in canone does one miss the integrity of Mozart’s first or second scoring - that’s impossible to sustain with this combination of instruments. Actually, the Serenade is no such thing: no serenade, I mean. It’s a powerfully-argued, dark-hued piece, typical of so much mature minor-key Mozart, with an intensity and seriousness of purpose light worlds away from the divertissement implied by its original title.

Max Artved is principal oboe with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and his colleagues on this disc are fellow players in the same ensemble. They are well-honed musicians, both individually and collectively: the urgency and unity of their playing in the C minor Serenade-Quintet is most compelling. You may, like me, occasionally wish for fractionally more spacious tempi, if only to give more time for phrases to breathe? Artved himself plays divinely, with a seductively beautiful tone, an impeccable sense of style, and wonderfully precise articulation. The two perfectly-focused top Fs in the Mozart Quartet bring an irresistible smile of admiration and satisfaction: this really is top-drawer oboe-playing, deserving of the most lavish praise!

Unsurprisingly, the sound, originating with Danish Radio, is outstanding, and the liner notes informative. Go buy yet another Naxos!

Peter J Lawson

see also review by Patrick Waller

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Chopin Bruce Liu

Ingeneri Volume 2

Mondonville - Titon et L'Aurore

Telemann - French Cantatas 1


March 2022

Brahms Symphony 4
MacMillan Larghetto for Orchestra

Bruch Violin Concertos

Debussy Preludes Book 2

Jan-Peter de GRAAFF
Cello Concertos

La Nuit étoilé
Berlioz. Holmes


Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.