Feral Cats & Serenades

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Mozart: Serenades Nos. 11 & 12

Newell Jenkins, conductor / The Everest Woodwind Octet

Everest LPBR 6042

Mozart was a wind man. Some of his most delightful melodies come in his works for clarinet, horns and oboes. The Serenades are especially charming. No. 13 (“Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”) is one of those tunes that’s sort of a metonymy for the whole of classical music, and one that anybody can whistle without knowing what it’s called.

No. 12, from circa 1782, was later transcribed by the composer into his String Quintet K. 406/415b. Both Serenades pressed here are for an octet of wind instruments. No. 11 is a lighter piece, while the next contains some pre-Romantic heaviness, but is nonetheless pretty typical of a serenading mood.

This Everest sleeve has an ostensible composer in the period of Mozart showing off a score to his wife or mistress or sister. He looks proud, though she seems to be nodding at him in an “Uh huh” kind of way. What draws the eye is the sharp-toothed feline that looks quite feral, perhaps even demonic, and is dressed in what appears to be silky robe. By all appearances, it may have been trained by its owner to attack on command, and the budding composer just might be its next victim. Three vividly colored clarinets offset the somewhat domestically-fraught scene.

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