Babette Dorn

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte - Magic on the Piano

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Many themes from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Die Zauberflöte served as fertile material for composers who followed, and the piano pieces based on them form a small but delightful body of music that works well as a recital program. Babette Dorn's 2010 CD on Genuin Classics, Die Zauberflöte: Magic on the Piano, presents some of the most successful transcriptions and adaptations by major or notable composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Muzio Clementi, Ferdinand Ries, Josef Rheinberger, and others who found Mozart's music inspirational. Dorn's playing is ingratiating and entertaining, particularly in the boisterous Hummel arrangement of the Overture to Die Zauberflöte and Ries' playful Fantaisie sur l'air Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja. Some of the pieces have less magic, such as Christian Gottlob Neefe's fairly labored Variationen über den Priestermarsch and Johann Baptist Cramer's flashy but smarmy Variations sur un Air de la Flûte enchantée (Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen), but perhaps this is to be expected of less significant composers. The most surprising piece is Rheinberger's Improvisation über Motive aus der Zauberflöte, which provides the album's most daring combinations and harmonizations of Mozart's themes, and reveals Rheinberger to have been somewhat more inventive and colorful than is usually acknowledged. Furthermore, the return to music from the Overture at the end of the Improvisation provides a nice frame for this program. Dorn's tone and touch are marvelously varied, and the piano is cleanly recorded with full presence, so this is an exceptional CD and recommended for fans of Mozart's music and 19th century take-offs.

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