Nash Ensemble plays Mozart

Mozart Clarinet Trio for clarinet, viola & piano in E flat major (“Kegelstatt”), K. 498

There are two CD’s containing the following additional Mozart works: Four Flute Quartets; Horn Quintet; Oboe Quartet, and Adagio and Rondo for glass harmonica, flute, oboe, viola & cello in C minor, K. 617

I will comment only on the Trio for Clarinet, viola, and piano.

The London-based Nash Ensemble is a chamber orchestra consisting of 11 regular members, though their number can vary widely according to the work performed. Their repertory is broad but frequently favors modern works by English composers. Founded in 1964 by Amelia Freedman, its longtime artistic director, the Nash Ensemble initially developed its reputation in Great Britain.

Its first American tour took place in 1981, but the group remained little-known in the United States until the turn of the new century.

The Mozart Clarinet Trio shows us brilliant playing by all three instrumentalists. The Clarinet tone is outstanding, and the balance with the other two instruments is excellent. So often, we simply do not get to hear the wonderful, lush, dark sound of the viola in this composition, because many violists are somehow trained to play in a subservient manner to the other instrumentalists. That is not so in this fine group of 3 players! At the appropriate times, the piano has the lead; at other times, the viola; and also, of course, the clarinet.

Here is Mozart at his finest! He played the viola himself, and this work was likely composed for an evening of chamber music with two friends. This is heavenly music. Listen to it actively, rather than while doing some other task, such as reading your newspaper, or eating lunch. You’ll discover all the wonderful aspects of Mozart: Humor; great sadness; joy, and laughter…

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