MOZART: 6 Preludes and Fugues / Adagio and Fugue, K. 546
Performance 3.5 stars
Sound 4 stars
All Music, January 2010
While the influence of Bach on Mozart's entire compositional output cannot be understated, there are certain works where this influence can be felt more prominently. At the head of the list is the K. 546 Adagio and Fugue in C minor. The Fugue was originally composed for two keyboards, Mozart later arranged it for string quartet and added the Adagio; it closely follows the model of Bach's Preludes and Fugues from both the Well-Tempered Klavier and the Art of Fugue, sounding much more like Bach, in fact, than a Mozart composition. In addition to this original composition, there exists a set of six transcriptions of Bach (both J.S. and W.F.) Adagios and Fugues for string quartet that have been attributed to Mozart though firm evidence to the authorship of each is evasive. Performing these works is the ensemble known as Les Adieux in this reissue of the original 1995 NCA recording. The group's four members play with technical accuracy and together create a warm, appealing sound quality. What's missing, though, is much in the way of noticeable energy, passion, or excitement. With so much going on in these brilliant fugues, there's plenty of room for some drama, some tension, some enthusiasm; alas, there is none to be found. Listeners seeking a quality recording of these fine works will not be disappointed with Les Adieux's precision, but may find themselves wanting more on the musical side.
All Music 01.01.2010