Considering that Mozart's Divertimento in E-flat is far and away the greatest string trio ever written, and one of the unquestionable monuments of chamber music generally, it doesn't get the attention that it surely deserves from either record labels or collectors. Perhaps the dearth of regularly constituted string trios (as opposed to quartets) has something to do with it, but the fact remains that there is no greater testament to Mozart's genius than this epic, nearly 50-minute-long masterpiece in six movements that contains not a second that fails to rise to the highest level of textural gorgeousness and supreme melodic inspiration. Happily, most performances understand how special the music is, and give it their best effort. This one is no exception. The Zimmerman Trio plays with remarkably accurate intonation and a ravishing tone that's also mindful of the Classical style. Schubert's single-movement trio makes the perfect coupling. It seems to grow right out of the Mozart until the end of the exposition, when Schubert suddenly sails in with some typically arresting harmony.
This new release highlights some of Mozart’s lesser-known works, all for string trio: the Divertimento in E flat major, KV 563 and two of the Fugues with slow Preludes from the set of six, KV 404a (after Bach). The Divertimento, KV 563 is not only Mozart’s sole large-scale composition for string trio, it is also one of the first works ever written for the combination of violin, viola, and cello. It was composed in 1788, the same year as three of Mozart’s greatest and best-known works, the symphonies in E flat, G minor, and C (the ‘Jupiter’). Mozart was at the absolute height of his powers as a composer, and at the premiere of the divertimento in Dresden in 1789, he himself played the viola part.
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra Ensemble, a group of principal players from the SCO, perform a selection of Mozart's chamber works written for smaller forces. This intimate performance showcases the wealth of talent present in this multi-award-winning orchestra
Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia should have recorded all of Mozart's piano music for four hands, which includes several neglected masterpieces. This disc reflects their ideal partnership, two artists of great sensitivity collaborating in performances that feature constant interplay of parts, alertness to each other's work, and superb playing as individuals. The Concerto for Two Pianos ripples along without a care in the world, just as it should, and the English Chamber Orchestra doesn't seem to care that nobody is conducting it. The pieces without orchestra are a bit less significant (as is the Concerto for Three Pianos), but the playing is so beautiful you won't care.
While its unpretentious cover photo and small text don't proclaim it as an important recording, Noriko Ogawa's 2012 SACD of Mozart piano sonatas is the kind of sleeper album that quietly asserts its value and convinces purely through the beauty of the music. The three piano sonatas presented here also have that kind of unassuming quality. Mozart composed them as teaching pieces, suitable for players of modest skills, yet they have become extremely popular and rank among his best loved works. Ogawa plays them with a light touch that suits their simplicity, and her interpretations of K. 330, K. 331 (famous for its Rondo alla Turca), and K. 332 are transparent and almost naïve, but for the subtlety of attack, balanced phrasing, and shaded dynamics that reveal her artistry. BIS provides nearly ideal sound quality for Ogawa, offering clean reproduction and reasonably close microphone placement that make listening effortless.