Santiago Mantas conducts Mozart Serenades – K361 & K375 [European Union Chamber Orchestra; Divine Art]

5 of 5 stars

Serenade in B flat for 13 Wind Instruments, K361 (Gran Partita)
Serenade in E-flat, K375

European Union Chamber Orchestra
Santiago Mantas

Recorded 16 & 17 November 2015 at All Saints’ Church, East Finchley, London

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: November 2016
Duration: 77 minutes

Even if this release were not as recommendable as it is, it would have strong claims on the dedicated Mozartean, for here is the “première recording of complete Serenade”, the one known as K375 (for an octet of winds). The reasons are the cutting of the “faulty” bar 19 from the second Minuet and the inclusion therein of a subsequent (and attractive) Trio, the latter not recorded before in this version. Leading up to and away from movement four, Santiago Mantas shows a judicious sense of tempo, ripe for clear articulation and vivid detailing, gratefully taken by the players, and superbly recorded, with presence, clarity and tonal fidelity.

Such excellence also informs the seven-movement K361 Serenade, for thirteen musicians. Given string-orientated markings are in the score, such as pizzicato, rightly a double bass is used instead of the sometimes-employed contrabassoon, although there is a case for using both in order to substantiate and vary the bass line. No matter, for contemporary with K361’s first appearances are mentions of a double bass. Mantas and the EUCO ensemble ensure that the grandness, beauty and ingenuity of the work are given full value for fifty minutes of enjoyable and enlightening listening. The only quibble is that the musicians are not credited in the booklet; they deserve to be.

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