Klemperer's Mozart recordings have been available almost without a break since their original LP releases. It's not hard to see why, since he conducted Mozart with authority, never lapsing into either heavy-handed Romanticism or its opposite, treating the music like a fragile piece of porcelain. Klemperer's sturdy rhythms make even some of his slow dance-based movements seem faster than they actually are. Period performance buffs will still feel this big-band Mozart is too heavy but the more open-minded will appreciate the way Klemperer brings the winds forward to create appropriate balances with the strings.
Philips's repackaging of Gardiner's sophisticated Mozart symphonies offers all the usual qualities of period instruments: the immediacy of gut strings and reduced-vibrato articulation, rustic sounding woodwind, precariously exciting natural brass and the unmistakable 'thwack' of hard sticks on the timpani. Taken individually, the five discs are not, alas, of equal merit. David Wilkins
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Otto Klemperer s death, EMI Classics pays tribute to the incomparable conductor with the release of an extensive edition of 11 luxurious yet affordably-priced boxsets. The second edition of three is available this January. The great symphonies of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are considered to be the last nine together with Nos. 25 and 29. Klemperer s first recordings of these were Nos. 29 and 41 in 1954 followed by Nos. 25, 36, 38, 40 and 41 two years later together with the Seranata Notturna, Eine kleine Nachtmusik and the Adagio & Fugue. He revisited Nos. 29, 38, 39, 40 and 41and Eine kleine Nachtmusik in the 1960 s as well as completing all the other recordings in this 8-CD collection entitled Klemperer Edition: Mozart.
These performances come from the first ever complete set of the Mozart symphonies, dating from the 1960s, and they still represent 'big orchestra' Mozart at its most congenial. The contrast here between Bohm's sparkling Mozart, both elegant and vigorous, and the much smoother view taken by Karajan with the same orchestra, works almost entirely in Bohm's favour. Interpretatively, these are performances very much of their time, with exposition repeats the exception (as in the first movement of No. 40) and with Minuets taken at what now seem lumbering speeds. Yet slow movements flow easily, and finales bounce along infectiously. Consistently they convey the happy ease of Bohm in Mozart, even if the recording is beefy by today's standards, not as transparent as one now expects in this repertory, whether on modern or period instruments.
Barry Wordsworth and the Capella Istropolitana are in full control of these symphonies. This is an excellent release from Naxos. The price is attractive, but it is also a sound investment as the recording is of quality. Capella Istropolitana can cope well with as a chamber orchestra and can also manage well as a large scale orchestra for standard repertoire. They record mainly in the studio and are experienced with works by Haydn, Vivaldi, Telemann and Mozart. This recording is a good example of their ability. Naxos have created a credible set of recordings of the symphonies by Mozart. This was recorded at the Concert Hall of the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava in March 1988. It is a Digital record and the sound is of good standard. Symphonies 41 (Jupiter) and 40 make an excellent programme and this release is an excellent way to get these symphonies without great expense.