Search MusicWeb Here

selling Internationally

aBritish Symphonies
4CDs £16 post-free


W.S. Bennett, Rootham, Moeran,
Bax, Rubbra, Rawsthorne, Berkeley
Alwyn, Grace Williams, Arnold, Wordsworth. Searle, Joubert

Van Dieren Chinese Symphony
Searle Symphonies 3, 5
Shaw Piano Concertos 1 and 2

£11.75 post-free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider


  • Bantock Khayyam
  • Arthur Butterworth Symphonies
  • William Wordsworth Symphonies
  • Sir John in Love
  • Violin Concertos


Vadim Gluzman - A quite extraordinarily good disc

This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
Great concentration

Let me tell you
Stratospheric Barbara Hannigan
Birmingham and BBC Proms

Berkeley - Authenticity

Highly Expressive

NØRGÅRD Stunning

Superbly played

One to treasure

One of the finest American
choral-orchestral works

from strength to strength

inspired choice

Book and CD £12

Book + 4CDs £33



REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Quartet in F for oboe and strings, KV 370 (1781) [14:29]
Quintet in A for basset clarinet and strings, KV 581 (1789) [32:26]
Marco Gironi (oboe); Vincenzo Paci (basset clarinet)
Quartetto d'Archi del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia
rec. live, Salo Alfredo Piatti, Bergamo, March 2011
DYNAMIC CDS 725 [46:56]

Here's another of those releases that looks superfluous. These chamber works, after all, have turned up regularly on record over the years, if not quite with the frequency of, say, Scheherazade; and the programme is rather skimpy. This issue also serves as a document of a long-running concert series: that of Bergamo's Quartet Society, which has presented chamber music and jazz performances since 1904, and from which these recordings were drawn.

The main work here is billed as the quintet "for basset clarinet"; you probably know it simply as the Clarinet Quintet. Mozart's roughly contemporaneous Clarinet Concerto, which originally included a few tones below the standard clarinet range, was intended for the larger basset clarinet, but the justification for using it here is more tenuous. At any rate, it has a deeper, warmer sound than the bright, silvery modern instrument, with a less dramatic timbral shift into the chalumeau range. Vincenzo Paci plays it smoothly, emphasizing the more equable side of the interpretive spectrum: he doesn't, for example, exploit the darker undercurrent of the second subject's minor-key phrases, keeping them within the established, unruffled framework. The Larghetto flows serenely, and Paci lets go of a series of turns with a nice rippling fluency.

Your response to the Oboe Quartet here will depend on how you like Marco Gironi's piquant sound — it's almost a fuller-bodied, better-tuned version of the old-fashioned, woolly "Viennese" oboe tone. The performance goes well, with oboe and strings finding a good rhythmic momentum in the first movement.

The string playing is musical, though not ideally polished: there's a slightly raw quality to the tone. Intonation is fine, although a few cello notes in the first-movement recap of KV 370 don't quite hit their tonal center. The players favour comparatively extroverted interpretive choices, which may not be to everyone's taste. The opening phrase of the Oboe Quartet's Adagio is intense rather than reserved. In the Menuetto of KV 581 — where the rhythm could be more firmly grounded — the diminuendo at the end of the first Trio verges on the lachrymose.

The recorded perspective is close and the levels relatively high: turn the volume down if you don't want to be clobbered by the oboe.

Stephen Francis Vasta
Stephen Francis Vasta is a New York-based conductor, coach, and journalist.