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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Keyboard Concerto in D Major, K. 107, No. 1 [13:51]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Divertimento in C Major, Hob XIV:4 [9:32]
Divertimento in F Major, Hob XIV:9 [5:52]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Keyboard Concerto in E - Flat Major, K. 107, No. 3 [9:59]
Joseph HAYDN
Divertimento in C Major, Hob.XIV:7 [8:02]
Divertimento in C Major, Hob.XIV:8 [8:55]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Keyboard Concerto in G Major, K. 107, No. 2 [9:11]
Ensemble Castor (Petra Samhaber-Eckhardt (violin), Lukas Praxmarer (violin), Peter Trefflinger (cello), Erich Traxler (fortepiano))
rec. Schubertsaal, Schloß Kremsegg, Austria, 2017
DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985432642 [65:50]

Mozart’s three Concertos K. 107 belong to the category of other composers’ music that he arranged for different instrumental combinations. Here we find him around 1772, arranging three of Johann Christian Bach’s Keyboard Sonatas Op. 5, Nos. 2, 3 and 4. I must say that, whilst I admire the originals, Mozart brings the music to life. My knowledge of these works has been limited to the recording made by Lars-Ulrich Mortensen and London Baroque for Harmonia Mundi (HMA1901395). I prefer Traxler’s choice of fortepiano over the harpsichord favoured by Mortensen. It increases definition between the sound of the keyboard and the strings. These three concertos were not included in the first complete edition of Mozart’s published works. It is for this reason that they have not been included in his canon of numbered piano concertos. I do feel that this more delicate music suits the chamber format presented here, and as originally composed. The piano would be somewhat lost in the traditional orchestral context of his numbered concertos.
 
My knowledge of the four Divertimentos from the collection of Haydn’s Hob. XIV is sketchier. I can remember, I think, having some of them on an old LP, but I have no modern recording of them. That being said, they have a quality that makes them sound familiar. They were composed in the 1760s and 1770s with the fourth, and seemingly most popular, dating from 1764. They were composed, as the Mozart pieces, for keyboard, two violins and bass. Ensemble Castor have followed the example of the numbers 7, 8 and 9 and interpreted the bass as a cello, the instrumented indicated in the other divertimentos. I cannot remember what keyboard instrument was used on the LP, whether the stipulated harpsichord, or a piano as employed for this recording. Whatever the instrument, the fortepiano used here fits well with this music, making this a pleasing experience. If I had to choose, I would even say that I preferred the Haydn to the Mozart.

Ensemble Castor are excellent throughout. Their wonderful interpretation breathes new life into this music. Whether you are a Mozart or Haydn fan, there is much to enjoy here, so much so that I have hardly had this disc off my player since I first heard it. The music is complimented by ideal recorded sound as well as exemplary booklet notes by the ensemble’s leader Petra Samhaber-Eckhardt. It all makes this a most welcome addition to the recording catalogue and to my collection.
 
Stuart Sillitoe

 

 



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