The choice of repertoire is more or less predictable. There are no lesser known arias, and Gott sei Dank they have been grouped by opera but, within the operas, not in the order of appearance. The ordering of the operas seems haphazard, too. "What an ungrateful nit-picker!" I can hear readers mumble. "Of course they have decided the order to achieve as much variety as possible". But I am not so sure. Why, in that case, start the recital, after the Zauberflöte overture with two arias in a row sung by Russell Braun?
"If anyone has recorded a lovelier Mozart recital in recent years, I've yet to hear it. In her early thirties, Kozená is now consummate mistress of her art. Her liquid high mezzo, with its easy upward extension, combines warmth with the bloom and freshness of youth, while her coloratura, on display in 'Al desio di chi t'adora' . . . is as brilliant and expressive as Bartoli's, yet without the Italian diva's intrusive aspirates . . . Fortepianist Jos van Immerseel is an equally sympathetic partner in an impassioned yet intimate performance . . ." ~Gramophone
Ultimate Violin Classics: The Essential Masterpieces would be an appropriate title for this five-disc set of performances taken from EMI's archives, if it weren't for the word "The." These are certainly many of the greatest works for violin, but there are too many obvious omissions - solos by Bach, concertos by Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Brahms, to name just a few - for this to be considered a definitive collection of violin masterpieces. The collection is diverse: sonatas by Beethoven; concertos by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Bruch; and many small encore-type works for violin and piano.
This set of recordings from the vaults of the Decca and Philips labels has an advantage over other samplers of the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in that it gives listeners complete multimovement works, not just a single movement or an excerpt of a movement. On the other hand, because of this, the number of works presented is by necessity much smaller than other compilations. Rest assured, though, that the producers selected the best of the best of Mozart's compositions. The symphonies are represented by No. 40 and No. 41 on the first disc of the set, with Georg Solti conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Decca's Ultimate Classics is a five-CD box set that presents the best-known pieces of classical music in a straightforward, no-frills program. Most of the selections are quite famous, taken from larger works by such great masters as Handel, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and many others, so beginners and casual listeners are sure to find many of the most familiar melodies here. The information provided with the set consists only of tracklistings and identification of performers, so there is no material on the background of the music, the composers' lives, or the original albums these recordings appeared on.
As long as there are violinists around like Giuliano Carmignola, classical music will never be a museum for the dead because in his hands, Mozart's Concertos are brilliantly, vibrantly, irresistibly alive. Carmignola, who later signed with Sony and then Deutsche Gramophone after these recordings were made in 1997, is a violinist with a light bow, a warm tone, an impeccable intonation and a superlative technique, all of which are needed for Mozart's effervescent Concertos. But, best of all, Carmignola has an elegant way of turning a phrase and a graceful manner of expressing the inner life of the music. With the skilled if not especially characterful il Quartettone led by Carlo de Martini, Carmignola turns in performances of Mozart Concertos which while they might not challenge the greatest recordings ever made, certainly do reconfirm the life enhancing – life affirming – qualities of the music.(James Leonard)
Recorded between 1989 and 2004, the Hagen Quartet's recordings of Mozart's complete music for string quartet is clearly the finest set of the works released in the early digital age. For one thing, because the collection includes not only the 23 canonical string quartets but also the three early Divertimenti for string quartet, the five Fugues from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier arranged by Mozart, and the late Adagio and Fugue in C minor, their set really is the complete music for string quartet.
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.
Classical and jazz pianist and composer, Friedrich Gulda was one of Austria's premiere pianists. Born in Vienna in 1930, Gulda started piano lessons at the age of seven. When he was 12, he enrolled in the Vienna Music Academy, and four years later received first place in the Geneva International Music Festival. In 1949, Gulda toured Europe and South America, earning international acclaim for his treatments of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, and the following year he successfully debuted at Carnegie Hall.