Mozart: Divertimenti K. 247 & 334

Officina Musicale of l'Aquila / Orazio Tuccella

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Mozart: Divertimenti K. 247 & 334 Review

by James Manheim

The cover of this release shows a medieval tunnel in the earthquake-devastated Italian city of L'Aquila, its walls held up by a lattice of metal supports. The album bears the subtitle "per L'Aquila," but it's not exactly clear what you're supporting by buying the album; the back cover merely says that by "buying this CD, you will help l'Officina Musicale in L'Aquila." Presumably this refers to the losses suffered by the musicians in the earthquake. The booklet notes, in Italian, French, and English, don't enlighten the reader much further, although you do learn that Orazio Tuccella, leader of the group Officina Musicale, escaped death only by jumping out the window of his house moments before it collapsed. You also find that Officina Musicale has specialized mostly in contemporary music, and when you hear the performances of these two Salzburg-period Mozart divertimenti you realize that they're not natural Mozart players. There is a certain spontaneity in these performances, with special enthusiasm in the finales, that the booklet would have you believe comes from the post-quake circumstances under which the recording was made. But the performances as a whole lack rhythmic flow; the string intonation is off and on; and the horns are not in a zone of perfect comfort. The goal of aiding the ancient city of L'Aquila and its musical institutions is laudable, but there are other choices for these sunny products of Mozart's youth.

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