- Sinfonia in G major, LMV 7:G8
- Serenade for trumpet, trombone & string orchestra in D major
Leopold Mozart, father of Wolfgang, remains known as a composer mostly for a trumpet concerto and a few colorful but insubstantial works such as a "Toy Symphony" and a "Musical Sleigh Ride." The orchestral works recorded here by the Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic under veteran conductor Reinhard Goebel are not common, but they make a better case for Leopold than do the aforementioned works. The best is saved for last: the "Symphony in G major, LMV VII:G16 (Neue Lambacher)" has been claimed as the work of Wolfgang, and with its substantial four-movement structure and economical materials it is easy to see why. The "Serenade in D major for trumpet, trombone, and ensemble, LMV VIII:9," is also an unusually strong work, its imaginative use of its outdoor-music models likewise suggesting the big serenades of Mozart the son. The "Concerto for two horns and orchestra in E flat major, LMV IX:9" is an earlier work with influence from Telemann in the outer movements and a surprising degree of seriousness in the slow middle movement. In all, there's a lot here to make you wonder what was in the large corpus of Leopold Mozart's music that has been lost. The booklet tells this story (short version: it was Wolfgang's fault). The performances are not crack but are idiomatic, and the album was beautifully recorded by Bavarian Radio at its Munich studios. A substantial addition to the discography of the Rococo period in Austria.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Today, he's primarily known as Mozart's father. But in his day, Leopold Mozart was a respected composer and performer in his own right. As Friedrich Marpurg noted in his 1757 “Historical-Critical Contributions," "As regards the number of finished musical works, [Leopold Mozart] may be placed side by side with the two composers Scarlatti and Telemann, diligent and renowned in equal measure.” This new release supports that assertion, I think. It presents three facets of Leopold's compositions. (The fame of his son so overshadows that I feel I have to refer to Leopold by his first name to avoid confusion with THE Mozart.) Included are a serenade, and concerto, and a symphony, representing light music, solo instrumental writing, and a complex work. Serenades, by nature, are lightweight works, designed for an evening's entertainment (and in some cases, background music). Leopold's serenade runs true to form. Short movements with simple, catchy tunes. To my ears, this work seems on par with W.A. Mozart's serenades and divertimenti. The 1752 concerto for two horns and strings is a well-crafted work. Leopold demands a lot from his soloists. The melodies employ a lot of step-wise motion (no mean feat with a valveless horn), and there is some particularly interesting rhythmic interplay between the two instruments. The Symphony in G major is the "New" Lambach Symphony. For a while was thought have been written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Current scholarship attributes it to Leopold. The 20-minute piece is a fully-developed rococo symphony. When it was assumed to by W.A. Mozart, its quality was unquestioned. As a Leopold composition, it makes one rethink the assumption that Leopold was but a mediocre talent. The Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic, under the baton of Reinhard Goebel, turn in first-rate performances of these works. If you only know Leopold through recordings of his "Toy" Symphony, this may cause you to revise your opinion of the elder Mozart.