Anima Musicæ Chamber Orchestra

Mozart: Divertimenti; Eine kleine Nachtmusik

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The Hungaroton label, long notable for the near absence of anything resembling graphic design, has reemerged with sharp-looking recordings featuring energetic young performers in innovative repertory. There is nothing unusual, of course, about the four Mozart works heard on this 2015 release, but they get put together less often than one might think. Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525 ("A Little Night Music"), is usually classed as a serenade, but its title might make it more of a notturno, and both those genres had very hazy boundaries with the divertimento. All were pieces written for incidental, entertainment use, or at least with reference to such use. Eine kleine Nachtmusik might be viewed as the apotheosis of Mozart's incidental music, but, written for the same small string ensemble (a string quartet works with all these works, but a slightly larger group is preferable), it fits very nicely with the three Divertimenti K. 136, K. 137, and K. 138, written in 1772 when Mozart was 16. They are among the first works that really display Mozart's genius. Consider the finale of the Divertimento in D major, K. 136, which spins out a series of seemingly unrelated little motives, each both economical and delicate; only as the little movement proceeds does its logic show itself. Eine kleine Nachtmusik makes a new kind of sense when prefaced by these three sparkling works, and Anima Musicæ that further knit the whole together. Hungaroton's studio sound is strong, and this is a very satisfying hour of Mozart.

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