I find myself in two minds about the performance of “Eine
here. Basically, I thought it was awful. After a sturdy opening
the sound tapered away in a manner which, if this had been a
radio broadcast, I would have thought reception was fading.
But no, it’s just an exaggerated diminuendo. The answering phrases
are then subjected to the most excessively arch, over-preened,
prissy phrasing, quite losing any sort of forward momentum.
And so it goes on all through. Quite frankly, this is a style
of Mozart-playing I find quite intolerable, but if, like my
grandmother (of blessed memory), you love Mozart “because he’s
so pretty” then you should be able to work out from my description
whether this might be your own cup of tea.
However, it must
be said that many performances of this work, as a result of
over-familiarity, play unimaginatively through some actually
rather remarkable harmonic changes – and we listen just as dully.
With each point doubly underlined in red ink, we’re not going
to miss it, and I am grateful to Sundkvist
for reminding me ONCE of things about the music I had forgotten
and shouldn’t have. But I don’t think I’ll hear him again. I
did enjoy the finale more – there is an overall rhythmic drive
which allows the point-making to fall more into place. If only
Sundkvist had managed to combine his
insights with a steady rhythmic trajectory in the other movements.
I found myself less
disturbed by the “Serenata notturna”.
Or rather, since Mozart gets up to some very strange things
here – was he trying to out-Haydn Haydn? – it might be felt that no exaggeration can be too great, so
it seemed reasonable that I should be disturbed. Sundkvist
certainly see that we don’t miss anything.
I have never seen
this Divertimento described as “Lodron
Night Music no. 1” before, but since it is one of two Mozart
wrote for a certain Countess Lodron I suppose there is no reason why it shouldn’t take
her name if this helps people to remember the piece. It’s actually
relatively routine Mozart and here I found Sundkvist’s
point-making less obtrusive – maybe the lesser familiarity of
the piece tempted him less in trying to give it a “new look”.
His Mozart continues to remind me of “the little girl who had
a little curl” and I think my ideal performance would dance
and flow a little more naturally but in this work he is more
often very, very good than awful. I also enjoyed the horn-playing.
The piece is scored for strings plus two horns and Sundkvist
has them ringing out proudly and nobly.
In short, I should
hate anybody to have this as their only “Eine
but if you already have an acceptable “Nachtmusik” (presumably most readers have) and are interested
in the other two pieces, then you’ll hardly worry about the
duplication at this price. And, looked at as an alternative version, even the “Nachtmusik”
has something to be said for it.
The recording is
beautifully clear and the notes are by the ever-reliable Keith