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Chantal Panozz
Style Weekly, July 2007

During Mozart’s 250th birthday celebration last year, concert halls around the world were filled with the sophisticated strains of Mozart’s symphonies, operas and concertos. But it was rare to hear a performance focusing solely on Mozart’s early works. This CD fills that void. Included are six seldom-heard works for keyboard and flute by Mozart, age 8.

While some classical music connoisseurs may find the music a bit too simplistic for their tastes, for those who enjoy the lighter side of classical music, it is a refreshing performance by two accomplished musicians. Flutist Carol Wincenc and pianist Gena Raps capture the playfulness of Mozart, who was inspired by the youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach in these compositions, before his compositional brilliance was complicated by such things as puberty. Wincenc’s flute interpretation of the music, which is usually performed with violin, is a welcome alternative and fits seamlessly together with the playing of Raps. Dedicated to Her Majesty Charlotte, queen of Great Britain, the sonatas were written while Mozart was in England with his father. While not by any means the best Mozart compositions, they are nonetheless an important part of the complete genius of Mozart and an admirable project from two musicians capable of a much higher level of virtuosity. And this only makes the childlike innocence and purity of their playing all the more commendable.

Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, July 2007

For Mozart's sojourn (1764) to London with his family, he had prepared a set of six sonatas, designated as his Op. III. Their galant style owes a significant debt to J.C. Bach. These could be played on either the violin or flute and cello obbligato, which would render them trio sonatas. Facile and eminently happy compositions are these, in which the flute basically accompanies the keyboard part. Wincenc opens the set with the C Major Sonata, K. 14. The opening movement moves to G rather familiarly, then back to the tonic. In the latter two movements, we hear even in their inchoate state, elements of Mozart's predilection for rondo and variation forms. The two-movement Sonata in A, K. 12 had made an impression on me years ago from an Epic LP with Jean-Pierre Rampal. The flute echoes the left-hand figures in the keyboard part. The happy Allegro second movement rather flutters and swoops in vivid unisono with the keyboard. Mozart's K. 10 Sonata in B-flat Major, despite a fluent upper line for the flute, proves more interesting in what the keyboard is doing, especially as Ms. Raps--a distinguished pupil of Artur Balsam--crosses her hands. A tender Menuet in E-flat moves on to a second, martial Menuet in the tonic. Some of the dialogue between the instruments prefigures the later piano concertos.

The G Major Sonata, K. 11 caught my attention beyond the galant formulas only when Mozart had his players make an excursion into G Minor for the Menuetto. I must admit, however, that in his arioso passages the young Mozart is already a master maker of melodies. For my money, the expansive Sonata in F Major, K .13 proves the most audacious of the set, with striking modulations and use of imitation. The second movement, Andante, opens as a canon in F Minor. I do recall how hauntingly Rampal played this movement (with Veyron-Lacroix), simply because Wincenc does the same. A slinky, upward, chromatic line in the flute receives a downward, chromatic line in the keyboard for the Menuetto. The final Sonata in B-flat Major, K .15 begins quite upbeat, the flute having some independent excursions before simply doubling the keyboard. The galant second movement, Allegro grazioso, facilely exploits musical lines in inversion. All charm, this disc, more than a mere curio of a boy genius.

American Record Guide, June 2007

"This is a fabulous recording. The music may be juvenile and derivative, with only hints of the otherworldly talent that would bloom in just a few years, but it is still a pleasure to hear. Carol Wincenc never overplays, and shapes each note and phrase with charm, wit, and a beautiful, soaring tone. Wincenc and Raps play with remarkable sensitivity and grace—just what this music needs. You will not be blown away by what Mozart wrote at age 8, but how could anyone could dislike this?"

Mary Kunz Goldman
The Buffalo News, May 2007

It's fascinating to listen to the music Mozart wrote when he was a child. Already, he was worlds away from the less-talented composers of the period, who churned out a kind of formulaic, 18th century Muzak. I know, I'm mean. But Mozart's famous first minuets for piano, K. 1 and K. 2 -- they had such a nice shape to them, such a grace.

These early sonatas, written on a tour of London in 1764, have the same magic. Even as a kid, Mozart had interesting ideas for not only melody but texture and technique. He was just 8, writing for just two instruments, and he showed such inventiveness.

Homegrown Buffalo flutist Carol Wincenc does a beautiful job with the pieces, playing them with seriousness but also lightness and humor. She and pianist Raps are so precise and in synch that they achieve extremely entertaining effects, such as in the trio of the Minuet of K. 14 and the martial Andante of K. 12.

Laura RĂ³nai
Fanfare, May 2007

Carol Wincenc and Gena Raps are excellent performers, and it is surprising to hear them playing such simple pieces. The good news is that they do this in all seriousness, playing with a degree of sophistication that exceeds by far our expectations. The chamber playing is extraordinarily smooth, phrases flowing with a naturalness that can only be achieved with great maturity and humbleness. Both musicians have excellent technique on their respective instruments, as well as an obvious affinity with each other, and together they manage to make this music sound very palatable, indeed. © 2007 Fanfare Read complete review

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