Monica Theiss-Eröd (soprano)
Valentina Kutzarova (mezzo-soprano)
Adrian Eröd (bass)
Calamus Consort
rec. 21-23 January 2016, Musikinstrumentenmuseum, Schloss Kremsegg, Austria
GRAMOLA 99097 [63:42]

Nachtmusique, Eine Nachtmusique im Hause Jacquin (A Musical Evening in the Jacquin Residence) is a truly delightful recording. The Calamus Consort (Calamus is Latin for reed, which relates to the instruments they play) are an ensemble devoted to playing music for the chalumeau and 18th Century clarinets. They have managed outstanding work with this CD. Listening to it with eyes closed is almost like travelling back in time to the musical evenings that were popular in the residences of noble families, patrons of the arts, in the 18th Century. As explained in the booklet notes this is exactly what the group were trying to achieve.

The Jacquin residence of this recording’s title refers to the house of Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin (1727-1817) a distinguished scientist of the time who studied chemistry, botany and also medicine but, as many in those days, also delighted in music. His eldest son Joseph Franz followed in his father’s footsteps and both his second son Gottfried and his daughter Franziska were Mozart’s friends. Franziska was a talented pianist and one of Mozart’s best pupils. He composed a wide variety of pieces for the family and especially for her the piano part in the famous Kegelstatt Trio KV 498 and the C Major Sonata For Four Hands KV 521.

This recording attempts to recreate how a such musical evening would have sounded, using the period instruments mentioned above. The composers chosen are contemporaries of the Jacquin family and, as Mozart’s personal friends, his compositions would almost certainly have had a prominent place in any of their musical evenings. It is exactly this fact that makes the disc so enjoyable. Mozart is one of my favourite composers and to hear some of his most acclaimed pieces played in the manner he would have heard or played himself in his friends’ home was for me a real treat. The instrumental pieces, the six Notturni (KV 346, 436, 437, 438, 439 and 549) are lovingly performed. The sound of the basset horns and clarinets clear and warm but to me the real thrill of the recording is to listen to famous arias and duets from such masterpieces as Le nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberflöte performed in this manner. The voice is supported only by the reed instruments and it gives the accompaniments a warm, crystal clear tone enhancing the voice. One of the best is the rendition of Cherubino’s aria Voi che sapette, beautifully sung by Bulgarian mezzo Valentina Kutzarova, displaying all the little details that make Mozart’s writing for the voice so extraordinary. Other highlights are Non piú andrai also from Le nozze di Figaro, sung with gusto by bass Adrian Eröd and the duet Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen from Die Zauberflöte sung rather well and with great humour by bass Adrian Eröd and soprano Monica Theiss-Eröd. The pieces by the other composers are interesting, sometimes as a curiosity like Anton Stadler’s arrangements of compositions by Antonio Salieri, others rather pleasing like the three pieces by Franz Xaver Süssmayr or downright beautiful as the two excellent pieces by Giovanni Paisiello. They complement the “evening of music” and give it the necessary authenticity, the real feeling of listening to a musical soirée in the 18th Century but it is Mozart’s music that turns this disc into a little gem.

The booklet provides excellent, informative reading about the Jacquin family and about Mozart’s work and relationship with them, as well as artists’ biographies both in German and English. For me, it is ideal for one of those cold, dark, long evenings of winter in the warmth of the home, with a blanket, a glass of wine and a good book.

Margarida Mota-Bull

W. A. Mozart
Due pupille amabili, Notturno KV 439 [1:07]
Luci care, luci belle, Notturno KV 346 [1:27]
Più non si trovano, Canzonetta [2:37]
Ecco quel fiero istante, Notturno KV 436 [2:05]
Non piu andrai (Le nozze di Figaro) [4:01]
Voi che sapete (Le nozze di Figaro) [2:47]  
Marsch der Priester (Die Zauberflöte) [2:23]
Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen (Die Zauberflöte) [2:46]
Se lontan, ben mio, Notturno KV 438 [1:40]
Deh vieni non tardar (Le nozze di Figaro) [3:41]
Pa Pa Pa (Die Zauberflöte) [2:35]
Mi lagnero tacendo, Notturno KV 437 [3:15]
Soave il vento (Cosi fan tutte) [3:01]
Franz Anton Hoffmeister
Allegro aus Parthia Nr. 5 [3:46]
Menuetto aus Parthia Nr. 5 [3:11]

Anton Stadler
Largo (18 Terzette, Nr. 14) [1:16]
Adagio (18 Terzette, Nr. 4) [3:18]
Marcia. Allegro (18 Terzette, Nr. 5) [3:21]
Andante from the opera Palmira by Antonio Salieri (1750-1825) [2:22]
Marcia (18 Terzette, Nr. 16) [1:22]

Giovanni Paisiello
Selva romita e oscura [3:50]
Ah voi dite erbose sponde [3:47]

Franz Xaver Süssmayr
Marcia Choro (Der Spiegel von Arkadien) [1:40]
Ländler (Der Spiegel von Arkadien) [1:32]
Die Milch ist gesüender, ist lauter, ist rein [1:17]

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