Divertimento in D Major for String Ensemble, K.136
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; Iona Brown, conductor
1. I. Allegro
2. II. Andante
3. III. Presto

Divertimento in B flat Major for String Ensemble, K.137
The Esterhazy Orchestra; David Blum, conductor
4. I. Andante
5. II. Allegro di molto
6. III. Allegro assai

Divertimento in F Major for String Ensemble, K.138
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; Iona Brown, conductor
7. I. Allegro
8. II. Andante
9. III. Presto

Divertimento in B-flat Major for 2 Horns and Strings, K.287
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; Iona Brown, conductor
10. I. Allegro
11. II. Andante grazioso con variazioni
12. III. Menuetto. Trio 1
13. IV. Adagio
14. V. Menuetto. Trio 2
15 VI. Andante. Allegro Molto

Divertimento in D Major for 2 Horns and Strings, K.334
The Esterhazy Orchestra; David Blum, conductor
16. I. Allegro
17. II. Tema con variazioni
18. III. Menuetto 1
19. IV. Adagio
20. V. Menuetto 2
21. VI. Rondo: Allegro

Serenade in D Major, K.239 ('Serenata notturna')
I Solisti di Zagreb; Antonio Janigro, conductor
22. I. Marcia: Maestoso
23. II. Menuetto. Trio
24. III Rondeau: Allegretto

Serenade in D Major, K.250, “Haffner”
Vienna State Opera Orchestra; Mogens Woldike, conductor
25. I. Allegro maestoso; Allegro molto
26. II. Andante
27. III. Menuetto 1
28. IV. Rondo: Allegro
29. V. Menuetto galante
30. VI. Andante 2
31. VII. Menuetto 2
32. VIII. Adagio; Allegro assai; Allegro

Serenade No. 10 for Winds in B-flat Major, K.361 “Gran Partita”
The Stokowski Orchestra; Leopold Stokowski, conductor
33. I. Largo. Allegro molto
34. II. Menueto 1
35. III. Adagio
36. IV. Menuetto 2
37. V. Romanze: Adagio. Allegretto
38. VI. Theme and Variations: Andante
39. VII. Rondo: Allegro molto

Serenade No. 13 for Strings in G Major, K.525 “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; Iona Brown, conductor
40. I. Allegro
41. II. Romanze: Andante
42. III. Menuetto: Allegretto
43. IV. Rondo: Allegro

44March in D Major, K.249 ('Haffner')
Vienna State Opera Orchestra; Mogens Woldike, conductor

045March in D Major, K. 445
The Esterhazy Orchestra; David Blum, conductor


This lovely Little Big Box showcases the sweet tooth of the Bach Guild. Wrapped in a commercial drive to present repertoire not fully represented in the catalog (at that time), Seymour Solomon couldn’t resist the charm of the Mozart divertimento. Throughout the history of the label there were always recordings of Mozart divertimenti presented. The Vienna era is represented with recordings by Mogens Woldike and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, I Solisti di Zagreb added two albums of divertimenti, the American conductor David Blum recorded with the Esterhazy Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra, and one of the first releases on the Omega label in the 1990s was a performance of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra performing the light classics of Mozart.

As with our recent Little Big Box of Telemann, the devotion to Mozart divertimenti was wide but shallow. There’s repetition that is not presented here – the K. 136, 138 and 139 divertimenti were recorded three times by The Bach Guild, leaving several of the more interesting divertimenti to be left aside. However, we are treated to some fine performances that show that these are not the toss-off works that one might think.

While not representing the highest level of Mozart’s musical genius, these fine works do show off a charm that is hard to turn away from – and so Bach Guild did not. Always crowd pleasing and ultimately very worthwhile, the ensembles present very fine and detailed performances. Each recording shows the strengths of the ensemble, and occasionally the weaknesses as well. The larger groups can have some trouble navigating the twists and turns and just plod on through, and the smaller ensembles can miss some moments of power, and tweet their way through.

What you get in this set is a marvelous mix of superb ensembles flying their way through some musical cotton candy, and showing us that even in cotton candy is some element of understanding of the human need – you can’t live on it, but it fits the bill when the time is right.

As for performances, the newest arrivals here are the digital debut of Leopold Stokowski’s performance of the Gran Partita, recorded in the early 1960s with musicians of his own choosing in New York and Washington, DC. Also making their digital debut are the fine performances of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, with Iona Brown conducting. These performances were released on CD in the early 1990s and have been out of print since the early 2000s.

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