Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin

Mozart: Adagios & Fugues (after Bach)

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Titled Mozart: Adagios & Fugues (after Bach), this release by the venerable Akademie für alte Musik Berlin might more accurately be described as Arrangements after W.A. Mozart after J.S. Bach. The contents of the program are something of a mishmash, containing actual Mozart works in Bach's style; Mozart arrangements of Bach for string quartet, here slightly rescored for no very good reason; slow movements added to Mozart's arrangements taken from a manuscript of Mozart's time but apparently not by Mozart; and entirely new Bach arrangements in the Mozartian vein that have nothing to do with Mozart at all. Listeners can pick out the differences among these if they listen intently, but the question is whether they should have to do so, given the violation of truth in advertising represented by the cover. For those not bothered by that, go ahead and sample more deeply: the Akademie für alte Musik Berlin, the preeminent early music group to emerge from the former East Germany, has always had a distinctive sound, lush and slightly mysterious, generated from a small group of a bit more than a dozen strings and, here, assorted other instruments. For those in search of a pleasant set of arrangements of Bach fugues, with fine sound from Berlin's Teldex Studio, this album works. For those seriously interested in what Mozart made of Bach, it's less useful.

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