Following their 11-disc cycle of Mozart’s piano concertos recorded with Ronald Brautigam, Die Kölner Akademie and Michael Alexander Willens in 2017 released a disc with two of Mozart’s best-loved serenades: the Posthorn Serenade and Eine kleine Nachtmusik. The result was warmly received, for instance in the French magazine Classica where it was described as ‘a truly attractive disc to chase away the gloom’ and on MusicWeb-International.com: ‘Die Kölner Akademie … demonstrate once again that they are amongst the best groups in the world of period performance’.
Joined by the tenor John Heuzenroeder and the male voices of the Kölner Akademie Choir, the team has now recorded the music that Mozart wrote for performance at Masonic gatherings. Mozart was himself a Mason during the last seven years of his life, and composed a number of songs and cantatas for various occasions. Best-known is probably the Masonic Funeral Music, K 477, heard here in a version – ‘Meistermusik’ – devised by the Mozart scholar Philippe Autexier in an attempt to reconstruct the original performance of the piece. Also included are the four orchestral interludes to the play Thamos, König in Ägypten, fine examples of Mozart’s music in the ‘Sturm und Drang’ tradition. Thamos was written by the poet and Mason Tobias von Gebler, and parallels have frequently been drawn between it and the more overtly Masonic Magic Flute.