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LSO Wind Ensemble: Mozart – Serenade no.10 for Winds “Gran Partita” (DSD)

LSO Wind Ensemble: Mozart - Serenade no.10 for Winds "Gran Partita" (DSD)
LSO Wind Ensemble: Mozart – Serenade no.10 for Winds “Gran Partita” (DSD)

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: LSO Wind Ensemble
Format: DSD64 (dsf tracks)
Label: LSO
Release: 2017
Size: 1.88 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Serenade No. 10 for Winds in B Flat Major, K. 361 “Gran Partita”
01. I. Largo – Molto Allegro
02. II. Menuetto. Trio 1. Trio 2.
03. III. Adagio
04. IV. Menuetto: Allegretto. Trio 1. Trio 2.
05. V. Romance: Adagio – Allegretto – Adagio
06. VI. Theme And Variations: Andante – Adagio – Allegro
07. VII. Finale: Molto Allegro

A sprightly interpretation of Mozart’s intriguing Gran Partita, this release celebrates the wealth of talent in the London Symphony Orchestra’s wind section with an ensemble that includes Italian bass clarinetist Lorenzo Iosco, renowned clarinettist Andrew Marriner & celebrated young oboist Olivier Stankiewicz. Captured live during Sound Unbound 2015, the Barbican’s 1st ‘classical weekender’, the recording is supported by Bowers & Wilkins & took place in the Jerwood Hall of LSO St Luke’s.
For this album, the ensemble was led Lorenzo Iosco, who played with the Orchestra for 6 years before joining the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He says of the work: “It’s so simple what [Mozart] writes, but at the same time so beautiful & so clear…All the 7 movements are fantastic, my favourite is the 3rd, because the way it starts & how it’s built is absolutely amazing. But all the movements have beautiful melodies, it’s a masterpiece!” Mozart’s sublime ‘serenade for 13 Winds’ may have been dedicated to his bride Constanze, & it may even have been played at their wedding celebrations in 1782, fitting the occasion with its ambitious scoring & sense of amplitude.
It consists of 7 movements & why Mozart decided to ignore symphonic convention is unknown. ‘Gran Partita’, which was found scribbled on the original manuscript, essentially means ‘big wind symphony’ & it is scored for 13-piece wind section: unusually large for the era. It isn’t 1 of Mozart’s most intricate scores, but its sensuousness & variety are unsurpassed.

Having found a ready market for recordings by the full London Symphony Orchestra in its LSO Live series, the orchestra is now breaking down into smaller groups &, to judge by the sales performance of this reading of the Mozart Serenade #10 for winds, K. 361 (“Gran Partita”), meeting with continued success. The performance doesn’t initially stand out drastically from others on the market, but stick with it: it’s distinctive, & it makes this overgrown serenade hold together. The LSO players, using a version for double bass that fits the indoor setting, take things at a fairly fast clip, giving the main thematic areas in the fast movements an edge that is slyly belied by the 2nd subjects or minuet trios. Sample the 4th-movement “Minuet” for an idea of the effect. The lyricism flowers in full in the 2 slow movements, which have a quite notable sustained level of control. The engineering level of the LSO Live recordings has been quite high, but the team falters here with the use of the LSO St. Luke’s venue, a repurposed Anglican church now used for a variety of LSO functions. It gives the winds a bit of a harsh edge, but listeners can enjoy a fine Mozart performance in a characteristically English vein.

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