In the summer of 1781 Mozart described his new home Vienna as "the land of the piano". He soon set about presenting his own subscription concerts, offering the three newly-composed concertos on this disc for publication "either with a large orchestra or a quattro". The latter, more intimate versions of these charming works are performed here by Robert Blocker, Dean of Music and Professor of Piano at Yale University, and the youthful Biava Quartet, winners of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and top prizes at the Premio Borciani and London International Competitions.
Conversing with Artie Shaw – as Loren Schoenberg and I did in preparation for annotating these further treasures from his last recordings – is an exhilarating experience. This is because this master of the clarinet excels at making connections. Just as he always knew how to get from one note the next in such a way that the result was a cohesive statement – a story, as jazz musicians used to put it – he knows how to link one idea to another, to make allusions, to place things in context, within a frame of reference that ranges wide and far. Artie Shaw always told a story when he played, and he had that sound – immediately, unmistakably identifiable as his and his alone. It is a treat to hear him tell us some timeless stories we hadn’t heard before. Dan Morgenstern.
The art of transcription - of recasting music, more or less literally, from one performance medium into another - has been a common practice for a long time. A good transcription (or a paraphrase) tests the abilities and the imagination of the transcriber as much as the creation of an original composition. Trying to maintain the distinct characteristics of a given work, while meeting the demands of a new medium, are not always easily achieved. But in a world where the pursuit of stylistic authenticity has become the performance ideal, transcriptions and paraphrases have often been frowned upon by purists as tamperings or sacrilegious alterations with the purity of the composer’s original.