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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, July 2013

Helmut Müller-Brühl and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra were made to play this music. Not even the most steadfast devotee of period-instrument performance could fail to be delighted by these performances. The Allegros bubble and bustle with high spirits, while the slower movements capture the music’s sweetness, charm, and grace without surrendering to cloying sentimentality.

This recording is a fruit of that familiarity with and understanding of Classical period performance practice and style.

…these performances by Müller-Brühl and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra are spot-on, and at Naxos’s budget price, practically a steal. Very strongly recommended. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, May 2013

…what Muller-Bruhl gives us are cultured…old-school Mozart…with accomplished playing from the Cologne Chamber Orchestra.

Naxos…provide an easygoing atmosphere for Muller-Bruhl’s easygoing style. The moderately close-up miking allows for a big sound, too, very wide and acceptably deep. © 2013 Classical Candor Read complete review

Mary Kunz Goldman
The Buffalo News, January 2013

This is music you can listen to anywhere, whether you are driving in your car, cleaning your house, studying for an exam or walking in the park. Mozart wrote it as entertainment. It was not designed to command your full attention. But that’s the glory of it: The music doesn’t change the world, but you marvel all the same. Its casual perfection amazes you…and there are bittersweet interludes that rival Mozart’s more “serious” works. The music definitely gives back more than it demands. The Cologne Chamber Orchestra, led by Mueller-Bruehl, resists the temptation to overengineer the music. They play it straight, with conservative tempos and a luminous string sound. © 2013 The Buffalo News Read complete review, January 2013

There are delights aplenty in Mozart’s divertimenti…these are pieces that are simply delightful to hear, as Mozart makes the divertimento form…his own. For example, one Menuetto in No. 11 is in the form of a theme and variations; No. 17 also contains a theme and variations, but in its Andante—its two Menuetto movements are in more-traditional form. Through subtleties like this, Mozart guaranteed that even his occasional works…stood out from similar pieces by other composers, and this is one reason Mozart’s music continues to delight and engage audiences more than 220 years after his death. Finely balanced and nicely nuanced playing by the Cologne Chamber Orchestra under Helmut Müller-Brühl helps make this CD a very pleasant experience indeed. © 2013 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2013

Divertimentos for very differing groups of musicians played an important part in Mozart’s life, the Eleventh and Seventeenth coming from the second half of the 1770’s. Though at the time he was passing through a feeling of insecurity in his life, they are two radiantly beautiful scores, the later work, much longer than most of his symphonies, scored for two horns and strings. Both have the overriding feel of the dance and a high degree of elegance, the inclusion of two Minuets in both scores adding to that impression. The Eleventh never quite finds instantly memorable melodic invention, and it is aptly named as music to divert our attention from the chores of daily life, its six movements ending with a simple march. The Seventeenth, on the other hand, is instantly engaging, its themes of much greater substance, with the filigree in the upper strings providing a constant delight. The the central Minuet—in various formats—has become one of his most popular melodies, while the final Rondo is one of his frothy moments. The two works receive the most exquisite performances from Helmut Müller-Brühl and his outstanding Cologne Chamber Orchestra, the tempos never rushed yet always buoyant, the two horns blending into the string texture rather than standing apart. Excellent recording from the Deutschlandfunk radio engineers. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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