Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Divertimento in E flat major K.563 [46:53]
String Trio in G major K.anh.66 (K562e) [4:10]
Henning Kraggerud (violin); Lars Anders Tomter (viola); Christoph Richter (cello):
rec. Lindermannsalen, Musikkhøgskole, Oslo, Norway, 19-23 December 2008
NAXOS 8.572258 [51:03]

The more I hear it the more I am convinced that the Divertimento K563 is one of Mozart’s very greatest works. >From the sotto voce octave arpeggio of the opening to the delightful ending with the three instruments playing a similar rhythmic pattern but independently it is full of invention, subtle changes of texture and wonderful melodies. It is certainly an awkward piece to fit into concerts, even given what a comparative rarity concerts are by string trios. This is therefore an ideal work to hear at home on disc if like me you lack the ability to play it yourself. Listening to this disc, well recorded in an appropriate acoustic, does give the delightful feeling that you have your own private trio to play it to you in your own room - something that inevitably you do not get with recordings of The Ring.

This is above all a lively performance, not so much in tempi, which are well chosen and by no means too fast, but in characterisation, dynamics and phrasing. The players are alive to every minute change in the musical argument. I had not encountered any of them before, and there is no indication in the booklet that they play together regularly as a trio, but all are apparently experienced chamber musicians. They manage the difficult feat of playing as a single unit when needed but with subtle differentiation of tone colour when that in turn is required. Although they are generous with repeats, including those to both halves of the first movement, I was never bored with the music or their playing of it. I have heard many other performances but this is certainly one of the best I have encountered so far.

The Divertimento lasts just over 45 minutes. The coupling here is interesting if not over-generous. The Trio K.anh.66 is an unfinished fragment, breaking off in the middle of the development. The exposition is repeated here which makes the sudden stop soon after all the more unexpected, leaving the listener wondering what they would have done next if they had been Mozart. The booklet notes by Ingrid F Anderson are interesting and to the point. It would be good to think that this admirable and inexpensive disc would introduce the work to Mozartians who have so far not encountered the work, as well as giving great pleasure also to those who have.

John Sheppard

The more I hear it the more I am convinced that the Divertimento K563 is one of Mozart’s very greatest works.