Mozart Night Music (2003)

Mozart

The English Concert

Andrew Manze

Nachtmusik was a term Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sometimes used in preference to Serenade or Notturno. The connotations are the same, of music for evening time, performed out of doors, to loved ones, friends, or patrons, to woo, amuse or flatter. But perhaps the term can embrace a more shadowy side of life, the way Mahler or Bartók used it. Not so long ago, one British politician blighted the career of a colleague by saying that there was something of the night about him. This recording explores the night-music of Mozart’s soul.
On 10th August, 1787, in the catalogue he kept of his own works, Mozart wrote Eine kleine Nachtmusik beside a piece in G major for strings—not so much a title as a description: ‘a little piece of night music.’ It is not known why he wrote it, whether to fulfil a commission or for a private occasion, though it is safe to assume that it was performed. In those days few pieces were written without a particular function in mind. The manuscript shows signs of extreme haste, even for Mozart. For example, doublings are written in shorthand, and large sections of the piece, where the music repeats itself, are simply left out with written instructions about where to find the missing measures. It is this in particular which shows how quickly Mozart was working, since he often took the opportunity to alter small details the second time around. Although his haste is visible, it is not audible, and the work is widely accepted as one of the great masterpieces of the genre. By looking at the other works on this recording, an insight into why this is so can be found. 
The Serenata Notturna (k. 239) is the earliest piece here, written in Salzburg early in 1776. Serenades were often grand affairs, sometimes one hour long and involving as large an orchestra as could be mustered. A few months later in his ‘Haffner’ Serenade Mozart used flutes, oboes, bassoons, horns and trumpets, as well as a prominent solo violin. So why this Serenata uses the unlikely (and unique) combination of strings and timpani is a mystery, one which probably raised a smile as well as a quizzical eyebrow from Mozart’s employer, Archbishop Colloredo. Despite the restricted orchestration, and the fact that he was becoming increasingly frustrated as a middle-ranking musician in a provincial Austrian court, Mozart’s creativity runs riot. He draws a rich variety of colours from the small instrumentarium, one moment a full-blooded forte, the next a playful pizzicato. At the start, all the parts combine to deliver a pompous, public fanfare. Then the tutti give way while a string quartet of two violins, a viola and a violone (here a small three-string double-bass) play a more private concert. This rocking between public and private, high and low music runs through the whole piece, notably in the (public) Menuetto and (private) Trio. On paper the tutti / solo division is reminiscent of a baroque concerto grosso, but the music sounds closer to an operatic scene, such as the party in Don Giovanni. In the final Rondeau Mozart interrupts the flow with a cheeky pastiche of Handel’s pseudo-tragic style, and then immediately brings the music back to the here-and-now by breaking into a low folk tune (as yet unidentified but not unlike the ‘Strasbourg’ tune in the finale of the G-major violin concerto, written just a few months earlier).

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The English Concert

The English Concert was founded by Trevor Pinnock in 1973 and is among the world’s leading early music ensembles. Under Andrew Manze’s direction, the orchestra has added annual appearances in the USA to its worldwide touring schedule and is expanding its recording plans with harmonia mundi usa.

Andrew Manze

Andrew Manze is “a violinist with extraordinary flair and improvisatory freedom” (BBC Music Magazine), “the first modern superstar of the baroque violin” (San Francisco Examiner).

As a player, he specializes in repertoire from 1610 to 1830; as a conductor, he is much in demand among both period- and modern-instrument orchestras around the world. He also teaches, edits music, contributes articles to numerous periodicals, and broadcasts regularly on radio and television. He is a presenter on BBC Radio’s new Early Music Show.

A Cambridge Classicist by training, Andrew Manze studied the violin with Simon Standage and Marie Leonhardt. He was Associate Director of The Academy of Ancient Music from 1996 to 2003, and succeeded Trevor Pinnock as Artistic Director of The English Concert in July of that year. He is also Artist-in-residence at the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. In his new role at The English Concert, Andrew will move into Classical repertoire, including Mozart’s violin concertos, orchestral works and reorchestrations of Handel’s oratorios, while continuing to perform baroque repertoire. 2003 saw his debut tour of the UK with The English Concert, a televized concert at the London Proms and a filmed reconstruction of Handel’s Water Music on the River Thames for the BBC. In their first prize-winning recording together, Manze led The English Concert in a dazzling Mozart program, including Eine kleine Nachtmusik (hmu 907280).

Andrew Manze is also active as a guest conductor in large-scale oratorio and symphonic repertoire, with symphony, chamber and period-instrument orchestras in Europe, the US and Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music, London; his cadenzas to Mozart’s violin concertos were recently published by Breitkopf & Ha?rtel.

Manze records exclusively for harmonia mundi usa and has released an astonishing variety of CDs. Recordings made with the trio Romanesca (Biber, Schmelzer, Vivaldi), The Academy of Ancient Music (including Bach violin concertos, Geminiani and Handel concerti grossi), and as a soloist (Telemann, Tartini), have garnered many international prizes: the Gramophone, Edison and Cannes Classical Awards, the Premio Internazionale del Disco Antonio Vivaldi and the Diapason d’Or—each of them twice. Since 1984 his collaboration with Richard Egarr has been setting new standards. Their discography includes sonatas by Rebel and Bach (both awarded the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik) and Pandolfi’s complete Violin Sonatas (Gramophone Award, 2000). Their recording of the complete Violin Sonatas of Handel was nominated for a 2003 Grammy ® Award, and figured in the US Billboard ® Chart. Their previous release, Corelli’s Sonatas Op.5, has received unanimous rave reviews, was Gramophone’s Recording of the Month and won the 2003 Prix Caecilia. Their next release will be of Mozart sonatas.

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Mozart Night Music (2003)

Mozart

The English Concert

    CLASSICS TODAY

“Eine kleine Nachtmusik kicks off the evening in zesty style, with slashing attacks and a powerful sense of forward impetus: no effete mincing here. Manze and team offer what strikes me as the finest performance of A Musical Joke ever recorded. It’s an absolutely brilliant performance in every respect. Certainly this is one of the most memorable Mozart discs to appear in many years. Essential!" -

    AUDIOPHILE AUDITION

"The four women of Anonymous 4 have never sounded as lovely. Working at Skywalker Sound, producer Robina Young and engineer Brad Michel have created an uncannily natural space in which the overtones float magically away as if they were sounding in response to the season." -

Mozart Night Music (2003)

Mozart

The English Concert

Mastering Engineer: Brad Michel
Producer: Robin G. Young
Recording Engineer: Brad Michel, Chris Barrett - DSD
Recording location: Air Studios, Lyndhurst Hall, London
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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807280DI: Mozart Night Music
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Tracks.
1.
Serenade In G Major: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525 - I. Allegro
Mozart
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2.
Serenade In G Major: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525 - II. Romance: Andante
Mozart
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3.
Serenade In G Major: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525 - III. Menuetto & Trio
Mozart
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4.
Serenade In G Major: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525 - IV. Rondo: Allegro
Mozart
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5.
Adagio & Fugue In C Minor, K. 546 - I. Adagio
Mozart
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6.
Adagio & Fugue In C Minor, K. 546 - II. Fugue
Mozart
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7.
Menuet In C Major, K. 485a
Mozart
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8.
Serenade In D Major: Serenata Notturna, K. 239 - I. Marcia: Maestoso
Mozart
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9.
Serenade In D Major: Serenata Notturna, K. 239 - II. Menuetto & Trio
Mozart
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10.
Serenade In D Major: Serenata Notturna, K. 239 - III. Rondeau: Allegretto
Mozart
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11.
Ein Musikalischer Spass (A Musical Joke), K. 522 - I. Allegro
Mozart
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12.
Ein Musikalischer Spass (A Musical Joke), K. 522 - II. Menuetto (Maestoso) & Trio
Mozart
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13.
Ein Musikalischer Spass (A Musical Joke), K. 522 - III. Adagio cantabile
Mozart
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14.
Ein Musikalischer Spass (A Musical Joke), K. 522 - IV. Presto
Mozart
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