This symphony probably may not have changed musical history from the moment it was first written, in Salzburg in early 1774 by the 18-year-old Mozart. But it crystallises the young man’s emerging compositional self-confidence, and that shows him spreading his wings in symphonic music just as he had already started to do in the opera house and in his chamber music.
Frieder Bernius and his Stuttgart forces weigh in with one of the finer Mozart Requiems in a very crowded field–and to ensure this performance’s relative exclusivity, it’s one of only a handful of recordings that use the edition by Franz Beyer, an intelligent and persuasive 1971 effort to correct “obvious textural errors” and some decidedly un-Mozartian features in the orchestration attributable to Franz Süssmayr, Mozart’s pupil/assistant who completed the work after the master’s death. This live concert performance from 1999 offers well-set tempos (including a vigorous Kyrie fugue), infectious rhythmic energy from both chorus and orchestra, robust, precise, musically compelling choral singing, a first rate quartet of soloists–and, especially considering its concert-performance setting, impressively detailed and vibrant sonics. The CD also features informative notes by Beyer himself.
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.
When he originally recorded this album in 2006, cellist Matt Haimovitz, a player with an insatiable musical curiosity, was already exploring more unusual repertoire. In this case, he tackles Mozart’s enchanting and strangely neglected Divertimento, K. 563, with its sublime, slow second movement, plus a trio of Mozart’s arrangements of preludes as well as ingenious and miraculously handled fugues by Bach. Haimovitz is joined by Jonathan Crow (violin) and Douglas McNabney (viola), who play as one yet also each bring an attractive personality to the music. This is wonderfully generous chamber music-making, and a joy to eavesdrop on.
The partnership of Serkin and Abbado in Mozart is a fascinating one. They are such different musical personalities, yet they work remarkably well together, so that each performance becomes an artistic amalgam of two quite different artistic approaches. Abbado matches a natural spontaneous warmth (listen to the beguiling way the orchestra shapes the secondary theme in the first movement of the A major Concerto) with the utmost refinement of detail; whereas Serkin, patrician, authoritative, strong, is more selfconsciously expressive when he deviates from a strictly rhythmic presentation of the melodic line in the same movement.