This 2 CD compilation has a number of the greatest adagios Mozart composed, performed by some of the greatest conductors and musicians in the world. Mozart was such a prolific composer of incredibly beautiful music in his short 35 years that one can easily imagine a second 2 CD set of his adagios in this series. The quality of the performances and the sound quality of the recordings on both CDs are outstanding.
Romantic Adagios II is an interesting introduction to instrumental art music, though. Decca's stable of truly great performing artists are well represented. Among them are the Academy of Ancient Music, the London Symphony, the Concertgebouw Orchesta; performers Vladimir Ashkenazy, Lynn Harrell, and Joshua Bell; and conductors Georg Solti, Bernard Haitink, and Herbert von Karajan. Compositions range widely through music history, including works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and Debussy. Especially lovely are the adagios from Rachmaninov's Second Symphony and Grieg's Piano Concerto.
October 21, 2012 marks Sir Georg Solti's centenary and Decca is celebrating this with several important reissues.
Sir Georg was an exclusive Decca artist for 50 years.
In 1947 he signed his first contract with Decca - as a pianist and that same year he made his first record as a conductor (with the Zurich Tonhalle in Beethovens Egmont Overture). His last public concerts took place just a few weeks before his death in 1997 and were with the Zurich Tonhalle.
First things first: if you're seeing a picture of this disc on the site of an online retailer, be aware that it contains the Mass in C minor, K. 427, not the "Mass in C," promised by the cover, which would more likely be the "Coronation" Mass in C major, K. 337. It is always a shame when designers are given power of diktat over content editors. The so-called "Great" Mass in C minor is one of Mozart's most ambitious and most problematical works. There was no known immediate stimulus for its composition. Did Mozart begin writing it out of one of his rare religious impulses, on the occasion of his marriage to his bride Constanze? Out of his growing devotion to Freemasonry? Was it his first major exercise in applying the lessons in Bach-style counterpoint he had been receiving at the intellectual salons of the Baron van Swieten in Vienna? Or was it meant as a showpiece for singer Constanze with its killer soprano arias? It was all of these things and none of them, for Mozart never finished the mass.