Mozart flute quartets

Review by: David Vernier

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 8

Only one thing keeps this excellent recording from a top rating–the slight weakness of the cello in the mix, which positively favors the flute and violin at the expense of a fuller-bodied, more solidly anchored ensemble. Still, these are elegantly shaped, superbly played, eloquently executed performances that really find the essence of these alternately breezy and sincere, touchingly characterful pieces. Contrary to what some critics love to say, these quartets offer some of Mozart’s more memorable and idiomatic music for the flute, especially in the oft-heard K. 285 and the equally engaging K. 298. These players make sure to invest their performances with all the technical skill and interpretive verve at their disposal (and these are world-class musicians all), all the while allowing the works’ lighthearted demeanor and entertaining style to shine through. There’s no way to believe that Mozart didn’t have fun writing these quartets, and this group conveys its own pleasure through the convincing, effectively communicated nuances of phrasing and dynamic shaping displayed throughout. The famous Adagio of K. 285 seems to float blissfully in space, and likewise the opening theme of K. 298 is as charming and sweetly sung as anyone could imagine. The “filler”–a flute/viola duet by Mozart friend and flute-player Franz Anton Hoffmeister–is just that, a trifle that obviously served as a pleasant light-entertainment piece for some informal gathering. As with the Mozart, it receives first-rate treatment, with some nifty show-off sections for flutist Joanna G’froerer. Strongly recommended. [2/15/2002]

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Recording Details:

W.A. MOZART - Flute Quartets: K. 285, K. 285a, K. 285b, & K. 298
FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER - Duo-concertante No. 3 in F for flute & viola

  • Joanna G'froerer (flute)
    Martin Beaver (violin)
    Pinchas Zukerman (viola)
    Amanda Forsyth (cello)

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