Leopold Mozart: Serenade in D major for trumpet and trombone, concerto in E-major for two horns, sinfonia in G major ‘Neue Lambacher’

Zierow, Millischer, Diffin, Römer, Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, Reinhard Goebel
Oehms Classics OC1844

This CD is almost most interesting for what it isn’t. It presents a selection of chamber works by Mozart senior on modern instruments directed by one of the luminaries of the authentic instrument movement. So what’s missing? Well, I was more disturbed than I imagined by the sound of the modern instruments, particularly the valved brass, but to a lesser extent by the modern woodwind, chunky string sound and ‘play-along’ harpsichord, which gave this recording for me a very 1970s sound. This is not helped by the bland nature of the music – Mozart minus the X factor. It is I suppose a useful exercise to find out how surprisingly uninspired Leopold’s music is, but I’m not sure that I would be rushing to a recording studio with it! Having said that there are a few eyebrow-raising moments here, particularly in the Serenade where the apparent lack of either trumpet or trombone for the first few movements sent me to the programme notes, where I discovered that the short attention span of the Salzburg audiences it was written for required a most unusual structure – an attention-grabbing opening, and just as interest was flagging, the addition of various concertante wind instruments. While I can understand the flagging interest, I was not prepared for the time-warp of the trumpet’s almost Baroque clarino contribution. This CD certainly provides a snapshot of the world that the young Mozart emerged from, but as that world was every bit as stale as he complained it was, I found this CD of limited interest.

D. James Ross