This is a very fine set of Mozart's "complete" wind concertos, though Deutsche Grammophon does not make that claim, to their credit. The Flute Concerto #2 is not here, though that work is simply a lazy reworking of the Oboe Concerto. Some fragments for horn are also missing, though we get the Andante for Flute. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra plays very well throughout, with instrumentals carefully and beautifully balanced.
MOZART 111 combines the best of the Austrian master's music with the best of Deutsche Grammophon's Mozart recordings, bringing together a total of 111 works, while retaining, as far as possible, the original album releases with their cover art. There's enough of everything here to stock a shop, as they say, in performances that have stood the test of time and performances that make you sit up and listen to Mozart afresh the perfect way to discover, rediscover and savor the incomparable genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The Haffner Serenade in D major was written in 1776 for Marie Elizabeth Haffner's wedding celebration and was commissioned by her brother Sigmund, later the recipient of the Haffner Symphony. Though this composition has elements of Mozart's symphonic style – particularly in its dramatic first and last movements, the grand Menuettos, and the sixth movement Andante – it is cast in eight movements of diverse character and has a casual ambience that belongs to the serenade. The violin solos in the second, third, and fourth movements lend a concertante air to this work, though they have a private quality unlike the bravura displays of the concerto style…
Mozart’s sublime tragic comedy offers boundless scope for directors, and Kasper Holten has chosen it to follow his directorial debut of Eugene Onegin. He wanted to shift the emphasis from Don Giovanni’s sex life into a darker place, showing Giovanni’s womanizing as an attempt to stave off his own mortality. Each woman he seduces represents a life he could have had. Though it is a dark piece, Holten handles it with a light touch and works with a superb cast – Mariusz Kwiecien, one of the world’s leading Don Giovannis, Alex Esposito, a fresh, vigorous Leporello and acclaimed French soprano Véronique Gens.
For her first collaboration with the period ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, violinist Isabelle Faust performs the five Violin Concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, along with three shorter concertante works. This is an extraordinary set, for the historically informed performances, the polished sound of the group, the almost palpable presence of the players, which Harmonia Mundi has captured with superior engineering, and for the unrepressed joy in the music. Faust is the center of attention, naturally, and her refined and expressive playing immediately pulls the listener in. These are far from the most demanding concertos in the repertoire, so Faust is less concerned with technical execution than with conveying the pure feeling of the music, which is delightfully buoyant and uplifting. Under the direction of Giovanni Antonini, the group provides warm and sparkling accompaniment that gives Faust all the support she needs, but there's no doubt that she sets the emotional tone for these exquisite recordings. Highly recommended, especially for devotees of Classical style at its finest.