Flute Quartet in D, K285
String Sextet No.2 in G, Op.36
Jacques Zoon (flute), Raphael Christ (violin), Wolfram Christ (viola) & Iseut Chuat (cello)
Ilya Gringolts & Latica Honda-Rosenberg (violins), Wolfram Christ & Simone Jandl (viola), Valentin Erben & Jens Peter Maintz (cellos)
Reviewed by: Alan Pickering
Reviewed: 20 August, 2007
Venue: Cadogan Hall, London
In 2003 Claudio Abbado and Michael Haefliger established the Lucerne Festival Orchestra as a platform for established musicians from around the world to come together and make music. As well as performing as an orchestra – such as at the Proms this year in Mahler 3 (22 August) – individuals also combine to give recitals of chamber music.
Mozart’s D major Flute Quartet was the first of a trilogy of such pieces (a fourth such followed a few years later) composed to a commission, reputedly only half of which was paid because of Mozart’s tardy delivery of the finished works. Written in 1777 whilst on a tour embracing Munich, Mannheim, Paris and London, accompanied by his mother, the music’s spirit perhaps owes something to his burgeoning involvement with Aloysius Weber, sister to Constanze whom he ultimately married four years later. It also confounds reports that Mozart had a dislike of the flute.
Well suited to Cadogan Hall, this piece was beautifully played by the four musicians. A restful Adagio and a conventional rondo finale followed the lively Allegro. Jacques Zoon was clearly enjoying himself, ably supported.
If Mozart was indicating the beginning of a love-affair, then Brahms seemed to reflecting upon the break-up of the relationship with his beloved Agathe. Introducing the substantial G major Sextet, Wolfram Christ, commented that he enjoyed playing the piece for its unexpected moments. The other five musicians clearly shared his feeling for they all played with real verve and intensity. From the mystifying first movement through the jocular scherzo and the slow movement to the intriguing finale with its combination of enjoyment and quiet reflection this was a vivid interpretation of a journey. An emancipation, as the composer put it, or perhaps the salving of a conscience.