Beloved of the Gods

John Pitt
New Classics (UK)

This beautifully produced 5.1channel SACD recording features masterpieces by two divinely inspired composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Felix Mendelssohn. The excellent Dean-Emmerson-Dean trio (clarinettist Paul Dean, his brother violist and composer Brett Dean, and pianist Stephen Emmerson) perform Mozart’s unusual and delightful Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano in E flat major, K498 ‘Kegelstatt’ written by Mozart to be played with his close friends. The piece’s title ‘Kegelstatt’ refers to the ‘bowling alley’ where Mozart spent happy hours playing skittles and composing in the days immediately prior to writing this Trio. The ebullient performance and high spirits of Emmerson and the Dean brothers during the making of this recording echoes Mozart’s joy in making music with close friends and congenial musicians. The Dean-Emmerson-Dean trio follows this with Stephen Emmerson’s five-movement Papamina Suite, an effervescent arrangement of music from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Emmerson’s arrangement presents the ensemble with unique opportunities to break new ground in Mozart’s music - from sublime arias to buffo duets to superbly re-imagined orchestral textures. The brilliant young Tinalley String Quartet completes this release with the Mendelssohn String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op.13, ‘Ist es wahr’ one of the central pieces in their winning performance at the Banff International Chamber Music Competition in 2007. Their performance of the Mendelssohn quartet, written astonishingly when composer was a mere eighteen, reveals remarkable sonorities and articulation with at one point the ensemble sounding like an accordion behind the solo fiddle, at another like a symphony orchestra accompanying a sotto-voce recitative. From lyrical moments to thundering climaxes, Tinalley offers persuasive support for the proposition that the string quartet is the perfect ensemble. Beloved of the Gods is an elegantly presented and enjoyable selection of marvelous music played by some of Australia’s most gifted musicians. Highly recommended.