TV 34056S "Posthorn Serenade" No. 9 in D Major, K.320
"Serenata Notturna" No. 6 in D Major, K.239
Wilfried Böttcher w/ Kammerochester der Wiener Festspiele
Released on 1966
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Find it at GEMM
TV 34056S cover
[high resolution scan]

O ne of the pleasures of exploring the music of Mozart is the discovery of small orchestral works such as the Divertimenti, Dances and Serenades which contain passages of exceeding beauty, depth and gaiety. The Serenade No. 9, known as the “Posthorn Serenade” for the brief and unusual appearance of the coachman’s conch in the fourth movement, is one such discovery. Written for the occasion of a Salzburg festival at the still relatively tender age of 23, the Posthorn Serenade is, at 45 minutes, nearly the length of a symphony and is scored for a small orchestra of horns, woodwinds, strings and timpani. In lieu of the standard concerto that would have appeared in the middle of such a serenade, Mozart instead uses a Concertante that prominently features the woodwinds. The Posthorn Serenade begins with a brief, deceptively sombre Adagio maestoso that quickly gives way to the joyous Allegro con spirito. Mozart then serves up the very model of a Menuetto in the second movement, which could be seen as a concession to convention. The Concertante encased within the work is a pastoral field of flutes and oboes that ends with a winsome melody and, if not a finale, then at least a note of finality. When the main work resumes in an Andantino, it seems that much has changed in the world of our sweet Serenade. The movement feels like a long, sad lullaby and introduces an air of gravity into what was heretofore a light mood. The second Menuetto restores the jovial mood and showcases Mozart’s sense of humor and taste for the unconventional in a piccolo trio and, later, the posthorn solo of titular fame. For the Finale, Mozart looses the usual fireworks for a crowd-pleasing ending. Looking back, perhaps the opening Adagio was less a diversionary tactic than a warning that not all would be serene in this Serenade. The Serenade No. 9, with its masterstrokes, stands in contrast to the earlier Serenade No. 6, which has a quarter of its mass and a fraction of its genius. Also in D Major (as were many of Mozart’s Serenades), the Sixth is typical of Mozart’s early, derivative works in that they’re mostly of historical interest and generally pale alongside the work of his more mature contemporaries. For some reason, perhaps length, the Sixth and Ninth have been paired on several discs, including works by Sir Colin Davis and Karl Böhm. I haven’t heard any other versions of the Serenade to compare against Böttcher and the Kammerochester der Wiener Festpiele, but they seem to do a fine job of it, and the Turnabout elpee stands up remarkably well after 30 years.

TRACK LISTING

    "POSTHORN SERENADE" NO. 9 IN D MAJOR, K.320
  1. Adagio maestoso; Allegro con spirito
  2. Menuetto-Allegretto; Trio
  3. Concertante-Andante grazioso
  4. Rondeau-Allegro ma non troppo
  5. Andantino
  6. Menuetto; Trio I; Trio II; "Posthorn"
  7. Finale-Presto
    "SERENATA NOTTURNA" NO. 6 IN D MAJOR, K.239
  8. Marcia-Maestoso
  9. Menuetto; Trio
  10. Rondeau-Allegretto

CREDITS

WILFRIED BÖTTCHER -- conductor
KAMMEROCHESTER DER WIENER FESTPIELE -- orchestra
H. de Carsalade -- liner notes
Joan Parsons -- English translation of liner notes

return to W.A. MOZART discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1966 Turnabout LP TV 34056S  

 

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