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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Adagio for English horn, violin, viola, and cello in C major KV 580a
Quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello in C major (Flute Quartet in autograph) KV285b
Quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello in F major KV 370
Quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello in C major (Flute Quartet KV 285 in autograph)
Alexei Utkin, oboe, English horn
Arcady Futer, violin
Yuri Yurov, viola
Mikhail Milman, cello
Recording: 1994 - 1995
In 1983 Alexei Utkin graduated from the Moscow Conservatoire where he studied under the tutorship of professor Petrov. In the same year he won the First Prize at the Russian National Competition for Oboe. Consequently he played at the most prestigious halls in the world: Carnegy Hall (New York), Concertgebauw (Amsterdam), Auditorio Nacional (Madrid), Academia Santa Cecilia (Rome), Champs Elysees (Paris) and of course Moscow Conservatoire Great Hall. For many years he was a Principal of the Moscow Virtuosi orchestra. He made many recordings with RCA and BMG. Alexei Utkin is Professor at the Moscow State Conservatoire.
Arkady Futer (violin) was born in Moscow in 1932. He was a student of Professor Yury Yankelevich at the Moscow Conservatoire and then post-graduated from it with the highest qualifications. For many years he was a Principal of the Moscow Virtuosi orchestra. Recorded several compact-discs with RMG-RCA and NET-SEAL.
Yury Yurov (viola) graduated from the Gnessins' Academy of Music in 1966. Prize-winner of the International Festival of music in Budapest in 1968. A soloist of the State Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation. Professor of the Gnessin's Academy of Music. Honored Artist of the Russian Federation.
Mikhail Milman (cello). Born in 1947 in Moscow. Studied at the Moscow Conservatoire with Natalia Gutman and Mstislav Rostropovich. Graduated in 1971. For many years played with the Moscow Virtuosi. Made recordings with RMG-RCA, NET-SEAL and Teldoc. Soloist of the Kapelman Quartet.
It's only in the textbooks of theory of music that clearly outlined boundaries between different epochs and styles exist. Indeed a travel through the three times of the life of arts, that is past, present and future represents one of the secrets of the unique fascination of the great composers' music.
The chamber works by Mozart for wind and string instruments written late 1770s - early 1780s connect two epochs, baroque and classicism. The traditional for Mozart and his elder contemporary, Franz Josef Haydn, composition of quartet of two violins, viola and cello was changed. A wind instrument - either flute, or oboe, or English horn - was included. This kind of combinations of different timbers was typical for the baroque music.
The associations with the baroque epoch do not confine just to the formal resemblance. The virtuosity of the solo instrument, which contrasts the mini-orchestra and the free structure of multi-part works are also very typical of the baroque music. For instance, Quartet C-DUR (KV 285 b) consists of only two parts, the first is fast in a traditional for the music of classicism sonata form, and the second slow, in the form of variations. Adagio C-DUR is a one-part composition slightly resembling slow parts of the earlier Mozart's symphonies. Other works on the disc are more traditional by their forms.
Hermann Abert, the author of the classical fundamental research of Mozart's music, says of the propinquity of the composer's chamber ensembles of the 1770s - 1780s and his serenades. This is very true indeed. But some fragments of the music anticipate the late Mozart's style. A slow part of the Quartet F-DUR resembles a melancholy somewhat in the French style (it was written with a view of performing in Paris). But at the same time it's a quiet tragedy hidden under the mask of a deep sorrow like many pages of Don Juan opera or even Mozart's Requiem.
Of the works on the disk only Adagio C-DUR and Quartet F-DUR are performed here as originally written. Two other works were originally intended for the ensemble of flute and the string trio. The original tonality of the Quartet KV 285 was D-DUR. It was a usual practice for the baroque music. Many compositions assumed a variety of the instrumental ensembles. Moreover, it was quite common to use somebody else's musical material for composing one's own composition on canvas of a respected senior musician. For instance some piano concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach represent arrangements of the violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. That is why an oboe version of the flute and string quartets by Mozart, especially as performed by a musician of the caliber of Alexei Utkin, look more than legitimate.