The Music Room > Great Recordings and Reviews

What is your favorite Eine Kleine Nachtmusik?

(1/7) > >>

On the "Mozart collection on five discs" thread, one of my choices was K525, "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik." I made no absolute recommendation, but mentioned the old classic "big band" version with Bruno Walter and more recent efforts by Manze & crew and by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Well, I think EKN is a must for any Mozart shortlist, but I'm not sure the Orpheus CO is the group to represent it. A brief (actually truncated) audition reminds me that they ain't bad, but in this piece they aren't quite as spirited as I want.

Thus, perhaps others would be kind enough to share their favorite versions of K525--and with reasons why. A warhorse of sorts it may well be, but oh! what a brilliant warhorse in the right hands!

My own experience tells me that among large orchestra versions, Reiner and Szell have the right momentum, precision and--yes!--wit (not something always associated with those two), but their recordings are rather old now, Reiner's in mono and Szell's from a less-than-ideal era of CBS recording. Besides, I've always felt that the piece really wants a smaller group.

Years ago, I had a French Harmonia Mundi Musique d'Abord LP by some small group (quartet, quintet, some smallish chamber thingie) whose name now escapes me...and they did a rendition of the nightmusic so lively and so fresh that it is a matter of some consternation now that this record has disappeared from my collection.   :(   

Anyway...enough of my memories. What are YOUR favorites of this piece?


I only have the orpheus version.  I happen to love it, it seems like a very lively and vital performance.

That being said, I SHOULD explore other rendtions...

I'm not usually fond of really "big-band" ensembles for Mozart's serenades and divertimenti.  The use of an overly large ensemble robs the works of intimacy and delicacy.  Having said that, I did have an LP of the Night Music years ago by Eugen Jochum with the Bamburg SO (although I believe the ensemble was scaled down).  I do still have the LP of the Gran Partita by Jochum with the winds of the BRSO, but that never made its way into CD and is very forgotten.  Both were quite enjoyable.

For modern instrument ensembles along with the Orpheus CO, there are also Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and Sir Charles MacKerras with the Prague Chamber Orch. 

For HIP I think the Andrew Manze recording with the English Concert or the Christopher Hogwood/AAM recording are probably the best bets.  Certainly the Manze recording, in glorious multichannel SACD has the best sound quality.

Gurn Blanston:
Glad you brought this up, Dirk. EKN is one of those pieces that has suffered the fate of the 4 Seasons, for example. It is such a perfect piece of music in every way that it has gotten played to death and people don't hear it for the absolute gem it actually is.

And what it actually is, is a String Quintet for Bass. So your French version was undoubtedly exactly what it was supposed to be, and no doubt was as authentic as it gets. I would love to know what it was on the hope to have it some day.

I agree with Bunny on the ECO / Manze version, it is very nice.  My only other non-orchestral performance is by the Talich Quartet with Serri on Baß, and it is a very worthwhile performance. I have the Orpheus (my first version) and am quite fond of it, but it does lack that certain joie de vivre that makes the work a standout. A very interesting orchestral performance is by the Brandenburg Collegium / Newman  Fertitta (Continuuo) which is totally HIP, small orchestra with fortepiano continuuo, it is on Newport and probably a rarity.

Always interested in good versions of this work, although y'all can see how my taste runs, so Karajan et al probably won't do it for me... :D


Listening to: London Symphony Orchestra, Maag - Symphony No 3 I. Andante Con Moto - Allegro Un Poco Agitato - Assai Animato - Andante Come Prima

My personal favorite orchestral version is the Prague Chamber Orchestra with Mackerras.  A great Posthorn is on the CD too.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version