Jan Kobow, Maximilian Kiener, David Steffens TTB, Salzburger Hofmusik, Wolfgang Brunner
cpo 777 917-2
In recording all of Mozart’s music for Freemasonry, even reconstructing two fragmentary sources, Salzburger Hofmusik have helped fill out an aspect of Mozart’s life which was very important to him. While none of the music here strikes me as a masterpiece – and why would we expect such functional music to aspire to this status? – it is fascinating to hear the basic musical stock onto which Mozart would elsewhere graft his genius. The best of the bunch are the Masonic pieces for clarinets and basset horns – Mozart’s clarinettist of choice and friend Anton Stadler was also a freemason; the beautifully crafted Adagio for two clarinets and three basset horns is certainly memorable. I have heard Salzburger Hofmusik sound fresher and more convincing in other repertoire, and felt that they had perhaps succumbed to the fact that some of this music is simply a bit dull. Better to hear the genre magically transformed in the likes of The Magic Flute than to listen to what is in effect occasional music.
D. James Ross