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Mozart: The Impresario/ Mozart's Circle: The Beneficent Dervish

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

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Mozart's The Impresario is the one-act singspiel about squabbling sopranos whose trifling nature leads audiences to assume it must be an early work. In fact, it's a mature score, written alongside The Marriage of Figaro. This recording, done with period forces, has a light, clean elegance with neither the rhythmic energy of, say, an Eliot Gardiner reading nor the vocal beauty of the (out-of-print) classic John Pritchard recording for Decca (which had Kiri te Kanawa and Edita Gruberová as the divas). Cynthia Sieden and Sharon Baker, however, make well-balanced rivals in the lead roles. Bright and agile, they're equipped for the high-flying coloratura Mozart puts their way.

There is, alas, no evidence that Mozart put anything in the way of The Beneficent Dervish, and it shows in a score that offers not too much beyond period charm. But it's of interest as one of the musical pantomimes devised by Schikaneder just before The Magic Flute (another was The Philosopher's Stone, to which Mozart almost certainly did contribute). And dramatically, if not musically, it has so much in common with Flute that it almost qualifies as a preliminary sketch. This is the premiere recording, and it's neatly put together by Boston Baroque, one of the most respected ensembles of its kind in North America. The spangled exuberance of the writing--whoever did it--comes over with relish. And the elegant, scaled-down performances of singers like John Aler and (again) Sharon Baker make the whole thing pleasant enough--although you may not want to hear it twice. --Michael White

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Impresario: Overture
  2. The Impresario: Arietta: Da schlagt die Abschiedsstunde
  3. The Impresario: Rondo: Bester Jungling!
  4. The Impresario: Trio: Ich bin die erste Sangerin!
  5. The Impresario: Vaudeville: Jeder Kunstler strebt nach Ehre
  6. The Beneficient Dervish: Sinfonia
  7. Erster Akt: Suet: Hier mussen wir uns beide trennen
  8. Erster Akt: Aria: Welche nie empfunde'ne Freude
  9. Erster Akt: Duet: Liebes Weib
  10. Erster Akt: Aria: Der Drache ist den armen Mannem gut
  11. Erster Akt: Chorus: O Abdallah
  12. Erster Akt: March
  13. Zweiter Akt: Chorus: Die Manner zu fesseln
  14. Zweiter Akt: Wind Music
  15. Aria: Sofrano, fuhltest du mein Leiden
  16. Zweiter Akt: March
  17. Zweiter Akt: Ballad: Ein Jungling frisch wie Milch
  18. Zweiter Akt: The Sea Battle
  19. Dritter Akt: Aria: So bald der Mann ist allzu Gut
  20. Dritter Akt: Duet: ach, die Teure liebet mich!
  21. Dritter Akt: Recitative: Sofrano! Mein Sohn!
  22. Dritter Akt: Chorus: Vino pani
  23. Dritter Akt: Duet: Dab Manner unsre Sklaven sind
  24. Dritter Akt: Aria: Bald wird auch dieser Traum
  25. Dritter Akt: Duet: Wir sind die zwei lustigen Bauern vom Land
  26. Dritter Akt: Final Chorus: Ihr Undankbaren lebet wohl


Product Details

  • Performer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John Aler, Sharon Baker, Alan Ewing, Cyndia Sieden, et al.
  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000060OJ8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,718 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

I like "The Impresario" but what impressed me the most is "The Beneficent Dervish". It has the touch of Mozart, maybe a little too similar to "Abduction from the Seraglio", but... it is concise,rich and colorful, with lots of Turkish "Janissary" music scattered all around. I am surprised that it is not well known; I have never heard it before! If you like the music of "Abduction from the Seraglio", you will love this album.
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As a Mozart fanatic I have 140 CDs of his compositions alone --making up nearly his entire catalogue. The Impresario is, indeed, a fine piece, but is dwarfed musically by The Beneficent Dervish. As the premiere recording of the latter, the Boston Baroque sets a high standard for all future recordings! The other reviewers are correct in saying that the Beneficent Dervish acts as almost a sketch preceding The Magic Flute, and it is evident in the brilliantly playful compositional style. The Beneficent Dervish is a must have CD for any connoisseur of Mozart or Classical period Opera!
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At the start, it should be made more clear that "The Beneficent Dervish" is not by Mozart, but by lesser talented Viennese comrades of his. It is possible that Mozart may have heard this work performed or rehearsed, and it is the contention of some music historians that this theater piece may have inspired Mozart in his work on "The Magic Flute". That is the only reason this work has been resurrected at all, since most listeners well acquainted with the music of Mozart (particularly at this late point in his life) will notice a distinct lack of skill, imagination, and depth of expression found even in Mozart's lighter works.

The music in "Dervish" is at best amusing (laughable?) and more often dreadful. The harmonies rarely escape the tonic and dominant keys and briefly (but predictably) the relative minor key. Musical phrases are always short and trite compared to Mozart's more expansive ideas which are more often thoroughly developed and delightful to behold. Listen to the overture of "The Imprassaario" then listen to "The Dervish" overture. It seems that the poor composer of the "The Dervish can't get more than four bars out of a theme before he introduces some completely new idea which then goes.....nowhere. These poor ideas do not bear repeating, but they are! Mozart lampooned this kind of composing in his "Musical Joke". Listen how simplistic the orchestral accompaniments are and the lack of counterpoint in the duets and choruses. I always laugh at the end of the final chorus as the entire work seems to crash to a halt in a heap of noise.

Still I recommend this album. It is interesting for its historical aspects. Plus, "The Imprassario" is a dazzling piece and the performance of both works is enthusiastic and accurate throughout.
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If you're used to listening to Mozart, you wouldn't be surprised when I tell you that this is one of his less dazzling works. (As compared to Requiem, etc.) The music on this cd is a very good recording, but the music never goes to the same places that some of his other works do. Compared to Tchaikovsky, this is much less fantastical, but much less regimentalized than Beethoven. It's some good middle-of-the-road classical music worthy for the collector, but not for someone looking for widely recognizable classical.
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