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Michael G Rawson

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Mozart: Oboe Quartet/ Horn Quartet
Mozart: Oboe Quartet/ Horn Quartet
Price: £7.13

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart casts his spell yet again, 1 Sept. 2013
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I bought this CD mainly for K452, the Quintet for piano and wind, which I have come to regard with an affection and respect bordering on awe, and whose absence from my mammoth CD collection I saw as shameful. I was a little surprised that K452 was programmed last in the sequence of these relatively little known chamber works. Might I not be feeling a bit jaded after 50 minutes of hopefully concentrated listening, before the arrival of K452? Mozart was fortunate to have at his disposal quite a number of distinguished virtuosi across the board of wind instruments, including his great friend, Joseph Leutgeb, the horn player. Four of the five pieces in this programme include a part for horn. These musicians gave Mozart the opportunity to write for their instruments, and to deliver himself of a whole number of works which have become cornerstones of the repertoire as a whole, not only as early essays in the art of writing for wind. So I expected that, far from being jaded, I was more likely to have my appetite for K452 ideally primed.

And in terms of the performing forces and recording label, the prospects could hardly be more persuasive. The Gaudier Ensemble are world beaters and prove that authentic accounts of Mozart are not the sole preserve of period instrument groups. This is not to downplay the great contribution which the current welter of period instrument groups - Les Mosaiques, Freiburg Baroque, etc. etc. - have made to the understanding and realisation of the pre-19th century repertoire.

So I took the plunge and emerged with the pocket.virtually unscathed. The players are clearly having a great time, and once again Hyperion have hit the target with this discount Helios recording, which is both immediate and spacious. After numerous listenings I happily report that this CD entirely lives up to expectation. It's true that K452 is the piece de resistance in this programme. But in no way does it overshadow the other pieces, which I find more delectable with every hearing. For those knowledgeable music lovers looking into the claim that Mozart did at least as much as anyone to widen the instrumental repertoire, my advice is: treat yourself to this CD,

The works included in this programme are the following, together with their playing order:

Oboe Quartet in F major, K370
Horn Quintet in E flat major, K407
Quintet movement in F major, K580b
Quintet for piano and wind in E flat major, K452


Andrea Chenier: Libretto, Italian and English Text
Andrea Chenier: Libretto, Italian and English Text
by Luigi Illica
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to handle and use, 20 July 2013
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I had spent months looking for a libretto for Andrea Chenier, so that I could listen to my CDs of the opera more meaningfully.
With the arrival of this publication,,from Rullman's of New York by the kind offices of Wordery, my search is finally over and I can now enjoy this fine opera.
It is always a hope, though all too frequently disappointed, that one's books will be an object of beauty and a pleasure to use. For once that hope is satisfied. Although of only booklet size, the libretto is provided with an excellent binding, strong enough to last for years of frequent use and, with the period design of its cover, it has a pleasurably authentic feel.
Thank you Wordery


Wagner
Wagner
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true Heldentenor for today, 21 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Wagner (Audio CD)
I am a Wagner enthusiast so this CD was a top priority ever since it came out. I already had Kaufmann's Verismo recital and was therefore already captivated by the voice. I had little doubt that his Wagner recital would be as good as people were saying. My expectations were more than adequately fulfilled. Kaufmann keeps alive the great Heldentenor tradition and also shows the plasticity of the finest representatives of that tradition. Most obviously, he is able to pare down his voice ideally for the greater intimacy of the Wesendonck Lieder. But in the operas as well, he stuns with the resounding blast of his cries of "Waelse" in Act 1 of Die Walkure, in the course of establishing his mastery of the sword which his father Wotan had bequeathed for emergencies. Then again, he is reserve itself in his exchange with the Woodbird, in the corresponding act of Siegfried.

Kaufmann is the star of the show. But it would be wrong to pass over the gorgeous and supporting carpet of string tone provided by the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, under the experienced eye of their director, Donald Runnicles. A perfect blend of voice and instrument faithfully captured by the warm recording.
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