Mozart / Sharon / Amati Chamber Ensemble - Complete Divertimenti & Serenades | RECORD STORE DAY

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A divertimento is defined as music intended for light entertainment, 'to please the ear' rather than arouse the emotions, in the phrase of one early-19th-century theorist. The word was used interchangeably at the time with serenade and cassation, and Mozart wrote pieces with all three titles, gathered in this collection, for chamber and orchestral groups, intended for use in the theatre, outdoor, domestic, and courtly settings alike. That Mozart spent a good part of a decade (1769-1779) succeeding in writing divertimenti and serenades which elicit both delight and deep emotion is just one salient indication of his standing above almost all his contemporaries. This quality is most obviously the case in the Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments, K361, known as the 'Gran Partita', which Salieri in Amadeus cites as an exemplar of Mozart's genius for smiling through tears. Aside from this and Eine kleine Nachtmusik, very many of his lighter works remain neglected in performance, yet a work such as the D major Serenade K251 is no less characteristic of Mozart in it's pliable dialogue between winds and strings, instantly identifiable harmonies, and feeling for form, which knits together apparently disparate genre-types of dances and sonata movements into a coherent whole. This new collection brings together historically informed recordings made by Brilliant Classics together with digital-era versions of rarer repertoire, initially issued by Berlin Classics and Capriccio, featuring stylish German ensembles with a natural feeling for the Mozart idiom. A new essay by Jos van der Zanden ranges over Mozart's approach to the divertimento genre, observing how the composer systematically satisfies the demands of the contrasting kinds of listener known in the 18th century as Liebhaber (music-lovers) and Kenner (connoisseurs). There are private jokes, not only in the infamous Musikalischer Spass but the contrast between solemnity and levity in the Haffner Serenade. No less than in the more intellectually prized genres of quartet, sonata, and opera seria, Mozart is always experimenting with form, instrumental color, and harmony, and such a complete set allows listeners at every stage of their musical development to explore this for themselves.