Gordan Nikolic, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra – Mozart: March in D & Serenade in D (2008) DSF DSD64

Gordan Nikolic, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra – Mozart: March in D & Serenade in D (2008)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz  | Time – 57:25 minutes | 2,28 GB | Genre: Classical
Source: ISO SACD | ©  Pentatone Music B.V.

It is a shame that the tradition of the open-air performances no longer plays a distinctive role in modern concert life. At least, not in classical music. Whereas pop and rock superstars world-wide fill gigantic sport arenas without any problem, classical open-air events remain the exception. Admittedly, megastars such as Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras also achieved this almost without effort. Although it is true that the “learned” concert audience rather turned up its nose at the programme they presented; to say nothing of the price it demanded, as all sense of intimacy was somewhat lost, considering the 10,000 spectators and enormous amplifiers. The open-air concerts of the Classical period were certainly not bothered by these problems. Making music in the open air had played an important role since the end of the Middle Ages, especially in the cultural life of southern Germany. These concerts took place mostly during the evening and night. As he did in many musical genres, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart also wrote numerous works which took this “society-associated light music” (Gruber) to undreamt-of heights. Mozart, a composer of light music? Yes. After all, neither the composers, nor the audiences of the 18th century were confronted with the problem of the later division between “light” and “serious” music, which even now is adhered to in German-speaking countries with almost pompous gravity. Quite the opposite, in the Classical period, it was much more a self-evident goal to link popularity to eruditeness in an elegant manner, and to offer a piece of music which would appeal to all levels of the audience. At the same time, serenades had been considered from time immemorial a refined genre of light music, which was certainly always worth acknowledging. The title already indicates the ephemeral function of this music; thus, the word “serenade” can be more or less derived from the Italian “sera” (evening) and “sereno” (clear, cheerful).

“The Haffner, a wedding serenade for the marriage of Elizabeth Haffner in July 1776, was an outdoor summer piece, which was not good for the band, whose members were expected to move around. Thus there are no timpani; and certainly no cellos, because there were aristocratic guests (the bride’s father had been burgomaster of Salzburg), so lowly musicians couldn’t sit while they stood. When Mozart later shortened this eight-movement work to a five-movement ‘symphony’, he enhanced the orchestration with cellos and drums.
Gordan Nikolitch goes further. He incorporates these instruments into the original format, thus turning the Serenade into a fuller work. It has a stately expansiveness that only switches to a militaristic snap in the first movement of the Serenade, percussion now lending point both to a regal Allegro maestoso and, leading from it, a fiery alla breve Allegro molto. In the following Andante, the first of three ‘violin concerto’ movements, Nikolitch shows that he is as superlative a violin soloist as he is a conductor, as unerring in his understanding of lyrical eloquence as he is of dramatic timing. He never puts a foot wrong. Neither does Pentatone’s production, which keeps the perspectives steady (for example, the violin is properly balanced with the ensemble and not pulled forward for the cadenzas). The range, transparency and tonal veracity of the recording offer a total vindication of SACD. This is a tremendous disc.” –Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
March in D, K.249
1 Maestoso 3.56
Serenade in D, K.250 “Haffner”
2 Allegro maestoso – Allegro molto 7.52
3 Andante 8.57
4 Menuetto 3.38
5 Rondo – Allegro 7.49
6 Menuetto galante 5.32
7 Andante 7.05
8 Menuetto 4.43
9 Adagio – Allegro assai 7.50

Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
Gordan Nikolic, leader




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