The basset horn, a close relative of the modern alto clarinet, was a popular instrument in Austria at the time Mozart wrote his 25 brief movements for a trio of basset horns. His colleague and friend, clarinetist Anton Stadler, for whom he wrote his Clarinet Quintet and Clarinet Concerto, was also a virtuoso basset horn player and the inspiration for these pieces. Mozart probably intended that the organization and ordering of the pieces be left to the judgment of the performers, but publishers grouped them into separate, five-movement divertimenti and re-scored them for the more practical ensemble of two clarinets and bassoon. This 1996 recording is the first (based on newly discovered scores) to reflect what were likely the composer's intentions. Its 16 tracks include three of the composer's arrangements of arias from Le nozze di Figaro and a basset horn quartet. While these pieces may not represent the Mozart's most profound musical thoughts, they are never less than charming and suavely graceful, and should interest fans of Classical-era music for winds. The Stadler Trio, named in honor of Anton Stadler, was founded in 1986 specifically to perform Mozart's music for basset horns. The group plays with supple elegance, obviously savoring the ingratiating lyricism and fluidity of the composer's inventiveness. The players' tone is warmly eloquent and sweetly mellow. Glossa's sound is clear and nicely ambient.
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