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Mozart - Five Divertimenti for Wind Trio (K. 439b)

by Suresh Singaratnam



This album was something I started working on a few months ago on a whim, but turned into what I wish was my first classical release. I guess it’s my first full length classical album, so there’s that.

Near the end of 2020, the Toronto Summer Music festival posted their “Play Along with Jonathan Crow” challenge. I was busy working on the big cross-Canada recording and music video for “A Canadian Christmas”, so I didn’t even notice until they reposted the information in January 2021, but when I did finally see their announcement, I noticed they were asking people to post videos of themselves playing the first movement of J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins (BWV 1043). That piece is one of my favourites, and I’d been practicing the solo violin parts of the first two movements (on trumpet) since my time at Manhattan School of Music. I recorded the 2nd violin solo part on trumpet, but also ended up recording all of the orchestra parts on trumpet and baritone for my submission. After recording the first movement, I released I could just go ahead and record the entire double concerto myself. It was a challenging but extremely fulfilling project, and it was a huge epiphany for me, because it showed me that I didn’t have to spend money on time in the recording studio for a lot of projects. I could record a lot of music at home if I just rented some other brass instruments to cover the middle and lower registers.

I started arranging more repertoire for brass ensemble and started practicing the newly written parts to prep for recording that repertoire. Somewhere in there, I was driving, the music app on my phone was set to shuffle, and I heard a movement of one of Mozart’s Divertimenti for 3 Basset Horns for the first time in years. I had a feeling this might be playable on 2 trumpets and baritone/euphonium, so when I got home I looked up the score online. I still had the baritone rental from my Bach & recent Flight of the Bumblebee recordings, so I started reading through the Mozart Divertimenti. Those first basset horn trumpet parts were going to need an endurance boost to get through, but this was all totally playable on trumpet and euphonium, so after I’d finished my work on the recording for “Seasonal Songs for Southern Ontario”, I started recording the trumpet tracks for the Five Mozart Divertimenti, knowing I could rent a euphonium to finish up when the trumpet tracks were finished.

The thing is, I’d just spent weeks listening to Daisy Press’ individual tracks for that recording of my song cycle. I’d just spent weeks listening closely to the phrasing of a masterful singer. When I started those trumpet tracks for the Mozart, I noticed something kinda magical had happened. Listening to Daisy’s singing had completely changed how I phrased on trumpet. I definitely felt it in the moment while I was recording, but as I was reviewing takes of the trumpet tracks for the Mozart album, I heard things in my playing that I’d never heard before.

Skip ahead a few weeks to the first Bandcamp Friday after Daisy’s recording of “Seasonal Songs for Southern Ontario” was released. I called Long & McQuade (the local music store) to look into that euphonium rental to finish the recording the Mozart album. An old friend who works there mentioned that the euphonium that matched what I needed for the recording rental was also on sale for a pretty great price. I thought “hey, let’s see what happens” and mentioned that in a comment on one of my Facebook posts about Bandcamp Friday. Then something else magically happened. A lot of people stepped up and bought a LOT of music on my Bandcamp page, so I was able to BUY that euphonium I had originally planned to rent.

I’d been practicing those euphonium parts up the octave on trumpet to prep for the recording, so I started recording those euphonium parts shortly after buying the new horn. I remember getting a little emotional in the beginning because I couldn’t believe I owned this new instrument that was bought with money from one day of music sales, and I was also thinking about how much more music I could record at home with this new instrument. It’s been a few weeks since I finished recording those euphonium tracks for this Mozart Divertimenti album, but since then I’ve been practicing euphonium parts for the next round of recordings I have planned. It’s been so nice to own this instrument and have the freedom to just play it whenever I want to. I’m back up to practicing 5-6 hours a day because of this new horn.

Reviewing takes of the trumpet and euphonium tracks, and then reviewing the full mixes for this album, I realised I wouldn’t have enjoyed this repertoire as much as a kid. Back then I was obsessed with repertoire with a lot of fast notes and complex harmony. I still enjoy the fast & complex stuff, but since I started practicing solfeggio a few years ago, I’ve come to appreciate the subtleties of well written counterpoint and orchestration a lot more. Practicing and recording these three parts that Mozart originally wrote for basset horn, I really enjoyed “existing in the moments of this music”. Listening to the recordings reminds me of that experience, so I hope that’s something other listeners can enjoy too. Mozart’s music is just so well written. He composed these memorable themes/melodies, but then supported and surrounded them with well crafted accompaniment in the other two voices. A few years ago, I adopted the modus operandi “Great art doesn’t hide behind complexity, complexity hides in great art”, and these five divertimenti that Mozart wrote are a perfect example of that. As we’re moving into warmer months, this is a recording that most people can enjoy on long drives through the country with the windows down, but music students can listen to an analyze for Mozart’s beautiful attention to compositional detail.


released April 21, 2022

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - composer
Suresh Singaratnam - trumpet, euphonium
Marc Koecher - Mixing, Mastering


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Suresh Singaratnam

Suresh Singaratnam is a trumpeter of uncommon breadth - unique not only for the small crowd he inhabits as a virtuoso of both classical and jazz styles but also for the continuity and clarity of his voice across both idioms. When he began to study the trumpet at age nine, it never occurred to him that he might have to choose between the two.

- Nathaniel Smith
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