With Mozart's 250th birth anniversary fast approaching, this disc is indeed a truly historic release. But who was Francis Xaver Mozart? Well, he is none other than Wolfgang's youngest son. Born 5 months before his father's death, he was a talented child, albeit very sickly as well. He had a very charming disposition, and like his other surviving brother Carl Thomas, he never married nor had any children.
Unfortunately, he lacked self-confidence and despite being a wonderful pianist, he was never able to break the barriers of the 'upper strata' of music making of his time. During his last years, he was afflicted by stomach and liver problems which eventually brought about his demise in June 1844 aged almost 53.
This CD is dedicated to the only compositions Franz Xaver ever wrote; an attractive cluster of songs for soprano, which, as expected are not in the same league as father Wolfgang's works. Some of them are mere sketches and for decades, no one knew they ever existed. Still, many of them contain flashes of inspiration that point to the young Schubert. Hints of Weber, Wagner and Verdi are also discernible.
Barbara Bonney sings with considerable charm and panache, and she is very well accompanied by the judicious Malcolm Martineau. Excellent annotations and sound are two other high points of this interesting album which should generate a huge amount of interest amongst vocal music lovers.
Copyright © 2006, Gerald Fenech