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
Schubert's 'Tragic' Symphony and Mozart's 'Paris' Symphony are performed by the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Wiener Musikvereinsaal in 1984. Harnoncourt goes back to Schubert's original manuscripts to perform the music in its purest form. Harnoncourt joined forces with The Chamber Orchestra of Europe for Mozart's last symphonies (Nos. 39-41), performed at the Wiener Musikvereinssaal in 1991. Known throughout the world for his highly original approach to classical music, conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt reveres Mozart as 'the most romantic composer of all'.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his period orchestra, Concentus Musicus Wien, never recorded a complete cycle of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, and this 2016 Sony release is their only recording of the Symphony No. 4 in B flat major and the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, made almost ten months before the conductor's death. Harnoncourt planned for this to be his last recording before his retirement, so it inevitably has the feeling of a valedictory performance, and one can also hear it as the orchestra's warm tribute to its leader and his sterling musicianship.
Renowned for his work in Baroque vocal music, René Jacobs is most frequently credited as a countertenor and as a choral director. He is somewhat less familiar as a conductor of Classical symphonic music, though he has increasingly delved into this repertoire in recordings with one of Europe's best early music groups, the Freiburger Barockorchester.