Ah, Mozart. Other than Bach, it's hard to think of too many more composers for whom listeners often have very specific, individual concepts of how their music should (and should not) be performed. For those who prefer a historically based performance on period instruments and a lighter, distinctively Classical approach to Mozart's music, this is not likely to be the recording for you. However, listeners who like to hear a little more of a Romantic spin on their Mozart, with full and lush sound, modern instruments, and more sentimentality, this recording is likely to please. This is certainly not to say that these performances of the K. 581 and K. 498 clarinet chamber works are indulgent or over-the-top by any means. The Van Dingstee Quartet, joined by clarinetist Céleste Zewald, offers a very clean, tight performance of the K. 581 Quintet. The string sound is pleasingly warm with intense but never over-used vibrato; the ensemble is consistently in tune. Zewald appropriately steals the show, though, with her wonderfully smooth, dark, and sensitive sound. The result is a well-balanced performance filled with variety of texture, tone color, rubato, and dynamics. The Lucebert Trio, performing the unusually scored K. 498 Trio for clarinet, viola, and piano, offers a similarly enjoyable performance. Violist Helena van Tongeren, also a member of the Van Dingstee Quartet, is allowed to shine much more in this trio; her sound and color skillfully match that of the clarinet.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Clarinet Quintet in A major ("Stadler"), K. 581|
|Trio for clarinet (or violin), viola & piano in E flat major ("Kegelstatt"), K. 498|