Joan Enric Lluna

Mozart: Gran Partita

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Spanish clarinetist and conductor Joan Enric Lluna is showcased in a recording of relatively large wind ensembles from the eighteenth century featuring Mozart's nearly 50-minute Gran Partita. The first clarinet does have a prominent part, but the work here comes across more like a clarinet concerto than a piece for chamber ensemble, due largely to the character of Lluna's playing, which sounds like it would be better suited to the romantic period than to Mozart. His playing is soulful to the point of practically every note being shaped, if not fondled, when a more straightforward tone would have been more appropriately expressive. Lluna encourages this kind of interpretive excess with the other players, and the result is not so much that of a balanced chamber ensemble but of a group of soloists playing every part molto espressivo. It's a relentlessly emphatic and overwrought performance with little nuance or subtlety. Also, the group plays Mozart's appoggiaturas as grace notes, a serious faux pas from musicians whose credentials indicate they should know better. The CD includes an arrangement of excerpts from Die Entführung aus dem Serail and a divertimento derived from music from Martín y Soler's opera Una Cosa Rara.

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