SCO Winds - Mozart: Divertimenti - The Guardian

The E flat Serenade K375 was the earliest of Mozart's three great wind serenades, and the most modest in scale, especially in the original sextet scoring for pairs of clarinets, bassoons and horns; it is this version that the Scottish Chamber Orchestra players favour on this beautifully prepared and presented disc. The work transcends its modest ambitions as music for an outdoor occasion, and the SCO players make the most of the slow movement, which is its emotional core. The four earlier wind Divertimentos that make up the rest of the collection, though, are much more straightforward. But though they may be unashamed Tafelmusik, the 18th-century equivalent of restaurant Muzak, they were composed by Mozart, who set himself compositional challenges even in such unassuming works. So the F major Divertimento K253 has three movements rather than the regulation four, but makes the first of them a set of variations, while the E flat major K252/240a begins with a sonata-form slow movement, then includes two dances before the usual fast finale. These performances pick up on every morsel of wit and ingenuity in the wind writing, and never forget that the purpose of this music was to entertain.

The Guardian
05 February 2015