Mozart Colloredo Serenade & Divertimento - SCO & Alexander Janiczek - Fanfare

Mozart wrote a lot of serenades and divertimentos, sometimes so many that I think the mere listing of them discourages acquaintance. But there is some wonderful music in these “lesser” pieces, and sometimes even famous melodies (or at least familiar catchy ones) make their appearance fooling the informal listener caught unawares. The nickname of K 203 should alert even the most casually inclined Mozart-lover that the origin of this work had to involve the composer’s patron and rather despotic boss (if we are to believe Mozart), and indeed it might have been written to celebrate the name day of the rather regal Prince-Archbishop whose festivities occurred on September 30. This is not music that demands concentrated attendance; it is rather music designed to entertain and please, with pleasant melodies and non-ambitious demands for outdoor or noisy indoor occasions, though no doubt especial attention was always accorded the not infrequent gorgeous solo violin parts.

The Divertimento has some substantial differences in scale, K 251 being a much shorter work that is far more orchestral in character, even though there remain many solo parts. Here, though, we are given a treat in the first movement’s strangely odd and strictly Mozartian melodic sequences that would later play such an important part in his mature symphonic works. This is a sincerely sunny work of great entertainment value, now as well as then, and cannot fail to put a smile on the face of any music-lover. It was probably intended as a gift for the name day of Mozart’s sister Nannerl, as he had made presents like this before.

The SCO plays with real authority in this music—they have earned that reputation over the last 20 years. You can’t go wrong with this if you are in the market."

05 July 2017