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
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.
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.