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Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik & Posthorn Serenade

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The Prague Chamber Orchestra contributes some very good string playing to this Mozart reading by Sir Charles Mackerras. The approach is modern but well informed, with clean, light, agile, and luminous results. Mackerras observes the repeats (including that of the first movement recapitulation) and chooses excellent tempos. The Romance is especially lovely. Telarc's recording yields a fairly realistic concert-hall perspective, but the distant pickup and reverberation tend to muddy the texture a little. The coupling is an excellent account of the Posthorn Serenade. --Ted Libbey

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I. Allegro
  2. II. Romance: Andante
  3. III. Menuetto: Allegretto; Trio
  4. IV. Rondo: Allegro
  5. I. Adagio Maestoso - Allegro Con Spirito
  6. II. Menuetto: Allegretto
  7. III. Concertante: Andante Grazioso
  8. IV. Rondeau: Allegro Ma Non Troppo
  9. V. Andantino
  10. VI. Menuetto. Trio I. Trio II
  11. VII. Finale: Presto


Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003CTI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,582 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. M. Rogers on May 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I must politely disagree with the previous reviewer's interpretation of the recording's sound quality, which I found to be very crisp. The distant pickup in my view yields a lovely concert hall atmosphere that is missing on so many other recordings of this piece. I guess it is a matter of personal taste.

What I find most special is Mackerras interpretation of the music, choosing lively tempos for the allegros, and steady andantes that don't drag too slowly. As in Mozart's time, all repeats are observed, giving the famous first movement a length of just over eight minutes (when the music is that good, you don't want it to end). The Posthorn Serenade is also excellent.

I fear that because of the sheer number of Eine Kleine recordings, this superb performance is often overlooked. If you like chamber music with a concert hall sound, this is the recording to purchase.
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Charles Mackerras and the Prague Chamber Orchestra present exhilirating performances of these Mozart favorites with very fine recordings. In reference to an earlier review, any so-called "distance" evaporates when you crank up the volume! Telarc offers up a comfortably moderate aural perspective with a wonderfully resonant bloom -- in my opinion, well-nigh perfect for a chamber-sized orchestra and for these works in particular. Discounting the opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik might be the most recognized piece of classical music in the entire repertoire, perhaps even the most popular.

As to the performances, all I can say is "wunderbar!" The much lauded recordings of these works from Karl Böhm on Deutsche Grammophone (Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik No13; Serenade No9) are comparatively stodgy and s-l-o-w, though certainly attractive in their own right. After all, there's more than one way to play this music. However, despite his fine sense of musical architecture and orchestral balances, Böhm almost turns this light-hearted music into a sleeping pill substitute with his slow, measured tempos. In contrast, Mackerras' tempos are lively, upbeat, and invigorating; the playing of the Prague Chamber Orchestra is magnificent! After hearing Böhm's Posthorn Serenade, Mackerras' was like a refreshing splash in the pool, or maybe even a rousing slap in the face! In my opinion, this is the perfect reference recording for both of these well-worn but always welcome works.
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Format: Audio CD
This recording is, as far as I am concerned, by far the most outstanding rendition of the two selections available. Sir Charles Mackerras and The Prague Chamber Orchestra present these pieces exactly as Mozart would have preferred, if he had a chance. When the composer calls for "Allegro con spirito," they floor the gas pedal. When "Andante" is called for, they gently apply the brakes.

Ein Kleine Nachtmusik was originally written with five movements, but one was somehow misplaced, and only four have made it through the generations. This old chestnut is one of Mozart's most beloved works.

The "Posthorn" Serenade is seven glorious movements, and is named for the Posthorn Solo, a feature of the sixth movement expertly crafted by the soloist, Zdenek Tylsar.

This CD will bring over an hour of beautiful music professionally delivered to your ears. Don't hesitate! Get it now!
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There is not much I can add to these over-familiar Mozart works, but if by chance you are new to them, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is charmingly melodic while the Posthorn Serenade is contrasted by its use of winds and timpani, and exhibits a bit more melodrama as in the expertly-played and quite moody andantino, not to mention a swaggering posthorn.

As far as chamber performances of these works go, Mackerras and Prague are a good place to start; they give a delicate, but very musical performance which is well-balanced and weighty on this early 80’s digital recording. Recorded in Prague’s Rudolfinum, the smaller orchestra is given extra warmth and resonance in Dvorak’s Hall, as opposed to other drier studio recordings on the market. (Also, on my recording I noticed an occasional artifact that occurred throughout the performance which I originally thought was a clacky key on an instrument, but I now attribute to a close-miked, over-rosined string instrument; I have not noticed this on other reviews, so it could be my personal recording, but it distracted me). Regardless, I enjoy this recording as it is well performed, and it can certainly stand with Sir Neville Marriner's on Philips or Decca.

For a fuller, modern orchestra playing these same works instead of a chamber orchestra, most point to the
...Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
This disc contains a grand rendition of Mozart's Posthorn Serenade, though it's not quite my favorite one. That honor goes to the muscular and powerful version by Staatskapelle Dresden under Nikolaus Harnoncourt. However, this one with Charles Mackerras leading the Prague Chamber Orchestra is almost its equal, and if you like your Mozart with a hair less sinew and a shade more suaveness, then you'll probably like the Mackerras better. Certainly there are days when I incline that way. These forces did a wonderful job not only in the Posthorn and the accompanying recording of Eine kleine Nachtmusik, but also in the Haffner Serenade and Serenata Notturna on a companion disc, and for a (just about) full run of the Mozart symphonies as well. For modern instrument Mozart from a small orchestra that knows how to bite like a period ensemble, this one is hard to top.
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