Notes from the mozart and well beyond CD booklet:


The performance of Mozart’s K.191 presented here draws on recent scholarship not in order to claim historical authenticity, but for interpretive guidance and inspiration. For example, the instrumentation used for this recording synthesizes four separate areas of scholarly inquiry into Mozart’s works for solo instrument(s) and orchestra.

First, it has been proposed that the string ripieno parts (which are at rest whenever the soloist is playing) included in sets of complete performance materials for some of Mozart’s concertos presented in Vienna, prove that fewer players accompanied the soloist than played in the purely orchestral passages. Secondly, iconographic evidence suggests that Mozart’s concertos presented in Salzburg may have occasionally been performed using only one orchestral player per part throughout. Scholars have elsewhere suggested that the bass rather than the cello was the primary instrument for the single Basso e violoncello line for concertos performed in Salzburg. And finally, it has been observed that in nearly all of his concerto movements calling for muted violin accompaniment composed after K.191, Mozart indicates that flutes should play in place of oboes, presumably for the superior blend with muted strings.

The present recording combines these theories and reduces the full complement of strings used in the orchestral passages (5 first violins, 5 second violins, 2 violas, and 1 cello and 1 bass together), to just one player per part when the solo bassoon is playing (first violin, second violin, viola, and bass), and employs flutes instead of oboes with the muted violins and violas that Mozart specifies in the Andante ma Adagio.

This fusing of performance traditions and orchestrational innovations from different periods of Mozart’s life preserves the presumed intimacy and clarity of concerto performances in Salzburg (somewhat akin to chamber music), and the grandeur of later large-scale performances of concertos in Vienna.

© 2004 Michael Sweeney




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