MOZART Chamber music for strings, oboe and piano
Mozart made it possible for musicians of many instrumental stripes to bask in his artistic genius. On this new CD, the members of the Adaskin String Trio and Ensemble Schumann share their delight in works requiring varied forces. There’s even the premiere recording of the Kegelstatt Trio, K498, originally for clarinet, viola and piano, in a version featuring a different wind instrument, the oboe.
Clarinettists and others who hold the first incarnation sacred might object, but the rest of us can savour the Kegelstatt – German for bowling alley, where Mozart may have been playing while composing – without reserve. As played by Ensemble Schumann oboist Thomas Gallant, viola player Steve Larson and pianist Sally Pinkas, the work’s charms receive articulate and expressive treatment. Balances between instruments are superbly gauged and the players shape the music’s juxtaposition of tenderness and jubilance with unforced intensity.
Gallant’s ripe timbre is particularly welcome in the glorious buoyancy and poetry of the Oboe Quartet in F, K370. Mozart sends the oboe in every direction, leaping merrily and soaring on high, while darkening the sky for the second movement’s poignant, almost operatic lines. Whether singing like an early incarnation of the Countess or bouncing nimbly about, Gallant is a master of the work’s inspired content in close alliance with Larson and cellist Mark Fraser.
Pinkas is the scintillating force in the Piano Quartet in E flat, K493, in which she draws a spectrum of nuances from the keyboard. Larson, Fraser and their Adaskin colleague, violinist Emlyn Ngai, team with the pianist in a performance that is by turns crisp, heartfelt and robust.