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Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, November 2011

…I was eager to hear this. I have heard Mr Kraggerud in concert and liked his tone and his approach. He is quite good here. Fortunately he has not fallen for the vibratoless playing that is often coming out of Europe these days.

This will serve me much better than recordings by more famous musicians…

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, October 2011

…the Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud and Norwegian violist Lars Anders Tomter (both playing on period instruments) join German cellist Christoph Richter to produce a worthy addition to a small but growing list of fine recordings of the work.

The three performers Naxos assembled on the disc play with distinction, as we might expect, and provide a pretty good rendition of Mozart’s music, their tempos neither too fast nor too slow but about right for a traditional reading of the score. The Trio begins with an Allegro, played with spirit and bite. The performers take the principal theme, one of Mozart’s typically beautiful melodies, at a pleasingly moderate gait that makes it melt in the air. Then, because they do not play the opening movement excessively fast, the lovely Adagio that follows is not so jarring a contrast as it might be but flows naturally from everything that went before. The players handle it lightly and poetically. Read complete review

Terry Robbins
The WholeNote, September 2011

…Naxos has issued an excellent performance by violinist Henning Kraggerud, violist Lars Anders Tomter and cellist Christoph Richter (8.572258)…This performance may be slightly less intense than the Zimmermann at times, but it’s a warm, rich reading that is beautifully recorded. At the bargain Naxos price it’s a great way to obtain a superb work that is quite simply Mozart at his best

John Sheppard
MusicWeb International, August 2011

The more I hear it the more I am convinced that the Divertimento K563 is one of Mozart’s very greatest works. From the sotto voce octave arpeggio of the opening to the delightful ending with the three instruments playing a similar rhythmic pattern but independently it is full of invention, subtle changes of texture and wonderful melodies. It is certainly an awkward piece to fit into concerts, even given what a comparative rarity concerts are by string trios. This is therefore an ideal work to hear at home on disc if like me you lack the ability to play it yourself. Listening to this disc, well recorded in an appropriate acoustic, does give the delightful feeling that you have your own private trio to play it to you in your own room—something that inevitably you do not get with recordings of The Ring.

This is above all a lively performance, not so much in tempi, which are well chosen and by no means too fast, but in characterisation, dynamics and phrasing. The players are alive to every minute change in the musical argument. I had not encountered any of them before, and there is no indication in the booklet that they play together regularly as a trio, but all are apparently experienced chamber musicians. They manage the difficult feat of playing as a single unit when needed but with subtle differentiation of tone colour when that in turn is required. Although they are generous with repeats, including those to both halves of the first movement, I was never bored with the music or their playing of it. I have heard many other performances but this is certainly one of the best I have encountered so far.

The Divertimento lasts just over 45 minutes. The coupling here is interesting if not over-generous. The Trio K.anh.66 is an unfinished fragment, breaking off in the middle of the development. The exposition is repeated here which makes the sudden stop soon after all the more unexpected, leaving the listener wondering what they would have done next if they had been Mozart. The booklet notes by Ingrid F Anderson are interesting and to the point. It would be good to think that this admirable and inexpensive disc would introduce the work to Mozartians who have so far not encountered the work, as well as giving great pleasure also to those who have.

James Manheim, August 2011

Mozart’s Divertimento for string trio in E flat major, K. 563, is unique in his output and exemplifies to the hilt his ability to infuse light, conventional forms with compact complexity….this release by a trio of Norwegian and German musicians is one of the best, most absorbing versions available….these players convey a strong sense of exploring the work in real time, with particularly lively dialogues carried on between violinist Henning Kraggerud and cellist Christoph Richter. This album, in fact, has the feel of the classic all-star chamber groups of the middle of the last century, such as those in which Pablo Casals was often involved, and this kind of approach has rarely been applied to this particular work, which richly deserves it. Highly recommended., July 2011

The expressive as well as virtuosic potential of the violin is well known, but composers have handled the instrument very differently through the years. One of Mozart’s greatest and most appealing pieces combines the violin with only two other instruments, viola and cello, to produce a work that the composer surely knew was far more than the lighthearted, lightweight one implied by the title Divertimento. This is a six-movement, three-quarters-of-an-hour work of great beauty and profundity, seamlessly interweaving the three string instruments into a gorgeous sonic tapestry while also exploring their individual—as well as combined—sonority and expressive potential. Henning Kraggerud, Lars Anders Tomter and Christoph Richter are not a formally organized trio, and that fact sometimes shows through in ensemble passages that are very well played but that lack the apparently intuitive grasp of what each player is thinking and is about to do that the best trios show. Still, this performance is very well played, and even though the performers (especially Kraggerud and Tomter) are frequently heard as soloists, they do a fine job of subsuming any tendency toward competitive display here, with each player allowing the others their moments to shine. That is exactly what this music requires: cooperativeness at the highest level as well as exceptionally sensitive and skilled playing. This is a short CD, even with the inclusion of a four-minute fragment of another Mozart work for the same ensemble; but the pleasures of this music last a very long time indeed.

David Hurwitz, June 2011

It’s great to see this work, incomparably the most magnificent string trio ever written, getting increasing attention on disc. We recently welcomed a splendid new recording on BIS, and now here’s another, equally fine. It seems that the music brings out the best in its performers, as well it must. Anyone attempting a nearly 50-minute-long string trio had better have the chops to carry it off. Perhaps the outstanding quality of this performance is its rhythmic thrust, combined with the ability of the players to characterize their musical lines in an independent but still effectively coordinated way.

I’m thinking in particular of cellist Christoph Richter’s delightful, swooping comments at the end of the first-movement exposition, the almost “parlante” phrasing of the finale’s principal rondo theme, and the generously lyrical phrasing of the grand second-movement Adagio. In music bursting with some of Mozart’s catchiest tunes, there’s never a moment that turns dull or static in this performance, and the sonics let the music breathe in a warm but ideally intimate setting. You really can’t have too many versions of this piece, one of the glories of the chamber music literature. Let this be one of them.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2011

Though Mozart was to compose twenty-three string quartets, he was to add just two completed works to the repertoire of the string trio. The second one dates from the later years of his short life and would appear, from the evidence of the first two movements, to have been originally a formal four-movement String Trio. Then having completed the first two—both of length and substance—abandoned the idea, substituted the name ‘Divertimento’, and concluded the score with four more that in total last little longer than the first two. It was dedicated and intended to please Johann Puchberg, the person who had often come to Mozart’s aid with sizeable loans of money. Completed in 1788, Mozart played the viola at its first performance, no doubt wanting to enjoy the many juicy moments he had given to the instrument. Indeed, while he had brought about such a significant change in the texture of quartets, where his equal interplay between instruments had been a major stylistic shift, his Divertimento is very much for three solo instruments, each given an important role. Two names in the performing trio are well-known on Naxos, the violin played by Henning Kraggerud; his Norwegian compatriot, Lars Anders Tomter, plays viola, and they are joined by the cellist, Christoph Richter. The performance shows considerable affection for the music, moments of uneasy intonation remaining in the sweep and spontaneity of the performance. Tempos are unhurried, the Minuets dance gently, while the finale if full of good humour. Mozart had started another trio, but it progressed no further than the opening to the first movement. It is here added to form a short final track. The sound quality is exceptionally good and captures the beauty of Kraggerud’s 1744 Guarneri and Tomter’s massive 1590 Gasparo da Salvo.

Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, December 2010

‘Divertimento’ it says on the package, and the music is a delight, but not many divertimenti run to 47 minutes or contain as much profundity. Performance and close-ish recording do the music proud. This recording is currently available on CD only in Norway and internationally via the Naxos Music Library for streaming or Classicsonline as a download, but that in no way reflects its quality: it deserves to be widely disseminated. From both sources you’ll find some worthwhile notes by Ingrid Anderson headed ‘about this recording/album.’

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