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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Arrangements for Wind Ensemble: Die Zauberflöte (arr. Joseph Heidenreich (1753-1821)) [43:52]; La Clemenza di Tito (excerpts) (arr. Joseph Triebensee (1772-1846)) [28:24]
Saxonian Wind Academy
rec. 13-16 March 2006, Stadtpark Frankenberg, Sachsen, Germany. DDD
NAXOS 8.570027 [72:16] 


Experience Classicsonline

Mozart’s output included a number of wind serenades and concertos. His lyrical style suits wind instruments very well. Harmoniemusik refers to a wind ensemble, usually consisting of pairs of oboes, clarinets, horns and bassoons, and sometimes also including a double-bass. This was a fashionable ensemble in
Europe, with a repertoire including arrangements of popular works of the time, as well as original compositions. 

Both operas represented on this disc were written in 1791, the year of Mozart’s death. Joseph Heidenreich’s arrangement of Die Zauberflöte was completed just a few months after the opera’s first performance. This is a convincing arrangement, which is in keeping with Mozart’s writing and the style of his own wind music. Following the overture, the music takes us through the drama of the opera, with many of the main arias represented. Variety is created through the choices of instrument, with melody lines mostly split between oboe and clarinet, and the rich resonance of the ensemble as a whole providing some wonderful colours. The playing is excellent, and the intonation is particularly impressive. There is a lovely sense of unity and the players blend very well, creating an ensemble sound which is bigger than the sum of the individual parts. The melodies are well phrased and the music has a singing quality throughout. 

The arrangement of La Clemenza di Tito was made by Joseph Triebensee, an oboe player who performed in the premiere of Die Zauberflöte. The recording here includes the overture and seven arias from Act I. The arrangement is once again convincing, and perhaps possesses more lightness than that of the previous work. The playing is once again excellent and this is a highly enjoyable performance. 

This is an interesting disc, which documents some of the wind ensemble repertoire, as well as showing Mozart’s operatic masterpieces in a new light. In terms of the social history of music, it is fascinating to think that some people at Mozart’s time may have first heard these operas through these arrangements. The music itself works well in this format and although the operatic storyline is an interesting addition, the drama is not essential to the enjoyment of the music.

Carla Rees 

see also Review by Simon Thompson


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