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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
La clemenza di Tito KV 621, (Harmoniemusik for Trio d’anches by Ulf-Guido Schäfer) [20:17]
Divertimento KV 439b No. 1 [14:53]
Divertimento KV 439b No. 2 [16:58]
Divertimento KV 439b No. 5 [10:32]
Trio Roseau
rec. 2018, Konzerthaus der Abtei, Marienmünster, Germany

It was the prospect of the Harmoniemusik that drew me to this disc, especially since it is designated as volume one. Harmoniemusik has long interested me, ever since I heard the arrangement for winds by Wenzel Sedlak of music from Beethoven’s Fidelio. The disc here presents music from La clemenza di Tito arranged for wind trio by the group’s clarinettist Ulf-Guido Schäfer - and he has done a good job, too.

The suite from Mozart’s last opera opens with the Overture and then contains arrangements of two Duetti and two Arias, ending with the famous Rondo “Non più di fiori vaghe catene”, which is sensitively handled by Schäfer, who brings out its drama, too. These are colourful and atmospheric arrangements, as all good Harmoniemusik should be. La clemenza di Tito already contains some very fine wind parts, with Ulf-Guido Schäfer building upon the foundations laid down by the composer, especially as the combination of oboe, clarinet, and bassoon also repeatedly occurs in Mozart’s original score. The first Duetto “Ah perdona al primo affetto” offers a more tender approach whilst the Aria “Deh, se piacer mi vuoi”, with its faster tempo, gives the Trio Roseau a chance to shine

The three divertimentos KV 439b come from a series of five, originally composed for basset horn trio and all written in the same key. I must say that on comparing these new arrangements by Schäfer with my recording of the basset horn version by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (2564 608662-2), I prefer them to the original. The greater variety of sounds works well in this arrangement, giving the music greater depth and colour than when played purely on basset horns; the music is given new life, with an air of a woodwind serenade prevailing throughout this charming music.

It is extraordinary to think that you are listening to only three instruments at one time; so good are Ulf-Guido Schäfer’s arrangements, that it sounds like a much bigger ensemble. This is aided by the expert playing of the three musicians who blend their sounds to produce the unexpected. I had, on occasion, to make sure that no one was doubling up on the horn. These performances are captured in excellent SACD sound, with the hybrid disc sounding equally as good on a conventional CD player. The inclusion of excellent booklet notes makes this disc a real winner: wonderful music in faithful arrangements in performances of the highest quality - who could ask for more? I am looking forward to the second volume in this series.

Stuart Sillitoe

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