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ON 4012
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ON 4012

Mozart: Serenades K361 and K388

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2006

Originally recorded in 2006


London Winds

Michael Collins

Record Label



Total Time - 72:23
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Serenade K361 (370a) 'Gran Partita' in B flat major


For 13 wind instruments

1 I Largo - Molto allegro 9:06
2 II Menuetto - Trio - Trio II 9:32
3 III Adagio 5:09
4 IV Menuetto (Allegretto) - Trio - Trio II 4:41
5 V Romanze: Adagio - Allegretto - Adagio 6:56
6 VI Thema mit 6 Variationen (Andante) 9:59
7 VII Finale (Molto allegro) 3:24

Serenade K388 'Nacht Musique' in C minor

8 I Allegro 8:29
9 II Andante 4:02
10 III Menuetto in canone - Trio: in canone al rovescio 4:26
11 IV Allegro 6:39

Debut release on ONYX from Britain’s leading wind ensemble founded and directed by master clarinettist Michael Collins
“It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God,” reminisces Mozart’s rival Salieri over the sublime strains of the Romanza from the ’Gran Partita’ in the film of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus.
This highly desirable and generous anniversary release features Mozart’s undoubted two greatest masterpieces for Wind Serenade – the so-called ‘Gran Partita’ for 13 Wind instruments and the ground-breaking C Minor Serenade.

London Winds consists of the UK’s finest wind players, including apart from Collins himself, founder members Gareth Hulse (oboe), Robin O’Neill (bassoon) and Richard Watkins (horn). Founded in 1988, they have recorded previously for Decca (Spohr and Beethoven Quintets with Pascal Rogé) and Hyperion (The complete Richard Strauss Music for Wind)

"...This addition to the catalogue cannot be too highly recommended. Not to be missed."
 Dominic McHugh - 2 October 2006

"... a highly accomplished performance, with the music’s grandeur evident from the very opening bars of the slow introduction. The C Minor Serenade for Wind Octet K388 [is] a superb performance, by turns austere and warm, that is surely the equal of any recording of this dark work."

**** K361      *****K388 (performance)

Misha Donat

BBC Music Magazine - December 2006

"London Winds’ divine recording of the "Gran Partita" and "Nacht Musique" Serenades should disarm any listener who is normally suspicious of musical balm. So sweet and direct is their tone, so wittily detailed their dialogue, so neat their  tempi, so rich the sonority that results from exchanging the normal double-bass for a contrabassoon, that resistance is futile. Though the first Adagio of the "Gran Partita" is the jewel in this disc -as remarkable for the soft rosy mattress of basset horns as it is for the aching legato lines of clarinet and oboe - the piquancy of the C Minor Serenade is equally seductive. A superlative performance, beautifully recorded."     ****

Anna Picard

Independent On Sunday - November 2006

"This is a desirable pairing of Mozart’s greatest works for wind ensemble, balancing refinement and earthy enjoyment in the so-called "Gran Partita" and catching all the sombre passion and pathos of that most troubled of serenades, K388.

Textures are unusually transparent, revealing felicities of scoring that often go for little. In the "Gran Partita", the allegros are spruce and vital, full of witty instrumental interplay, while the two minuets are sharply contrasted, the first done as a stately menuetto galante, the second as a brisk, breezy Ländler.

In the sublime adagio, the syncopated accompaniment is slightly too palpable where it should float weightlessly. But these beautifully played, thoughtfully characterised performances can be recommended to anyone who fancies this particular coupling."

Richard Wigmore

Daily Telegraph - 11 November 2006

                                                                                        *****   EDITOR’S CHOICE *****
"Michael Collins further entrenches his place among the first rank of clarinettists with this rather heavenly recording of Mozart Serenades. He leads the London Winds with great sensitivity and, when called for, virtuosic flair. A class act.  A classy disc.
The Gran Partita is indeed " a grand piece of a very special kind", as a Viennese newspaper of 1784 reported. And it almost always seems to bring out the best in wind ensembles. Led with flair and imagination by Michael Collins, London Winds gives a vital, refined perforamnce, exceptionally transparent in texture and full of felicitious detail: the wonderfully veiled pianissimo coda of the Romanze fifth movement, for instance; or the eloquently phrased oboe cantilena against the dulcet murmurings of clarinets and basset horns in the adagio variation.
Outer movements are crisp and athletic, with an easy, quick-witted sense of instrumental interplay; and the two minuets are sharply contrasted, the first done as a stately menuetto galante, its G minor Trio more elegiac than agitated, the second as a perky Laendler. Some may raise an eyebrow at the use of contrabassoon instead of Mozart’s prescribed double-bass (contrabassoons had notoriously unreliable plumbing in the 1780s). But there are gains in overall blend, even if I missed the double bass’s pizzicato twangs in the second minuet’s beery Trio. My only reservation comes with the Adagio third movement , the work’s emotional core, where the pulsing accompaniment impinges too prominently on the soaring exchanges of oboe, clarinet and basset horn.
As a fill-up London Winds offer that most undiverting of Serenades, K388, in a fine performance, amply powerful and urgent but notable for its poetry and inwardness, whether in the sorrowful, syncopated variant of the "second subject" in the opening Allegro’s recapitulation (7’02"), or the Trio’s exquisite "mirror canon", celestially floated here by oboes and bassoons."

Gramophone - January 2007

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