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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Divertimento for String Trio in E flat major, K563 (1788) [38:49]
Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K216 (1775) [22:22]
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K218 (1775) [24:38]
Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major for violin and viola, K364 (1779) [31:29]
Duo in B flat major, K424 (1783) [18:42]
Franco Gulli (violin), Bruno Giuranna (viola), Giacinto Caramia (cello), Angelicum Orchestra Milan / Alceo Galliera (K364) / Franco Gulli (K216, K218)
rec. 1965
DOREMI DHR8081-82 [70:22+65:28]

The first in a Franco Gulli series from Doremi focuses on mid-1960s live Mozart performances. The G major and D major concertos with the Angelicum Orchestra of Milan are self-directed, along the lines of Josef Suk, David Oistrakh, Menuhin and other luminaries, and are well coordinated affairs. Fortunately, too, Gulli allows the winds due prominence in the balance. Both concertos exude elegance, refinement and stylish affinities. There’s a sure sense of phrasal sensitivity in the slow movement of the D major in particular, a work that suits Gulli’s temperament to perfection, as he shows in a controlled but communicative finale.

He performs the Sinfonia Concertante with the same orchestra and with the addition of long-standing colleague Bruno Giuranna and conductor Alceo Galliera. The orchestral introduction is somewhat on the stately side but Galliera takes care to highlight the horns and there is plenty of incident to enjoy both orchestrally and soloistically. Giuranna was later to record the work commercially with Szeryng, Alexander Gibson directing the New Philharmonia, but this live reading with his compatriots has many points in its favour. One of these is the grave warmth of the Andante, its warm lyricism culminating in an expressively withdrawn account of the cadenza.

The two string players are joined by cellist Giacinto Caramia for the Divertimento in E flat major. Gulli and Giuranna had formed the Trio Italiano d’Archi back in 1957 with Amadeo Baldovino but Giuranna had taken over the cello chair in 1962 so this reading of K563 came relatively early in the trio’s lifetime. The result is collegiate, expressive, technically adroit and affectionate in the manner of the recording of this work by the Pasquier trio rather than the tensile competitiveness of Heifetz, Primrose and Feuermann. You can catch the trio in the Rhine box devoted to Gulli (review) where they espouse contemporary Italian music with great éclat and authority. The Duo, K424 reprises the excellence of the collaboration between Gulli and Giuranna with tonal qualities matched by technical security, fine exchanges and corporate identity.

This twofer has a four-page booklet with a page of biographies and the track listings. One can hear some high-level hum, most especially in K364, but otherwise the sound is more than serviceable. It’s notable how many Gulli reissues have been made available in the last couple of years and long may this admirable restoration work continue.

Jonathan Woolf



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