Petter Sundkvist

Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik; Serenata notturna; Lodron Night Music No. 1

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The concept behind this disc hasn't been tried for a while, if at all. The disc combines three works designated by Mozart as "night music": the famed Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525, the Serenata Notturna, K. 239, and the less commonly heard Divertimento in F major, K. 247, the so-called "Lodron Night Music No. 1." The terminology of occasional music in the late eighteenth century was vague, and a composer under directions to produce something for an event would have no trouble renaming a divertimento, cassation, notturno, serenade, or even Feldparthie ("field suite") as needed. Consider the Mozart "Posthorn" serenade, with its genre-mixing title. It's hard to detect in the three works here any specific movement configuration or turn of melody or form that Mozart thought of as specifically nocturnal; they range from three to six movements, and the Serenata Notturna and Divertimento in F major include horns in the orchestration, which one might think would wake the neighbors if played in some kind of garden setting. So there's nothing too illuminating about this night music. What remains is an hour of Mozart's lighter music, not that there's anything wrong with that. The compact Eine kleine Nachtmusik has the most competition and fares least well; conductor Petter Sundkvist delivers a rather shapeless performance with some exaggerated legatos in purely transitional passages, and the strings of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra are not displayed to their best advantage by the muddy Naxos sound. In the two earlier works, however, Sundkvist displays a fine feel for the concertante treatment of horns and violins, and generally captures the small dimensions and the characteristic lyricism of the slow movements, especially. The Andante grazioso of the Divertimento represents Mozart at his most artlessly charmed. One can do better with any one of these works, but the grouping may be worth thinking about some more, and the disc is never unpleasant.

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