This series of performances dates from between 1966 (when the six quartets Nos. 14-19 dedicated to Haydn were recorded) to 1973 and was rightly saluted on its completion as a fine achievement. The playing of the Quartetto Italiano has a freshness, range and subtlety that vividly realizes the music in all its variety, while technical problems seem to have been solved so that the music-making can be both spontaneous-sounding and thoughtful throughout.
Mozart is the most pervasively dramatic composer in history. The spirit of opera informs very nearly his every work. Themes are characters; characters interact; they change. András Schiff’s alertness to the dialogue in Mozart is reflected both in his acute sense of characterisation and his immensely sophisticated use of articulation. Every line breathes. Not only that, every tone tells. Just as the voice in conversation subtly reflects the speaker’s state of mind, so Schiff’s deployment of sonority derives from an acute perception of the notes’ psychological as well as their purely musical character. This recording from the historical and stunningly beautiful Teatro Olimpico affords us numerous insights into Schiff’s approach to music and music-making, and more besides. Schiff’s joy in performance is as evident to the eye as to the ear.
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.
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?
Claudio Abbado isn't a name one associates with early music, in light of his impressive career conducting the masterworks of the Romantic and modern eras. Indeed, he didn't conduct any music by J.S. Bach with the Berlin Philharmonic until as late as 1994. Yet when he's leading the talented Orchestra Mozart of Bologna in Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, his ease with the music and his players is obvious, and the performances have almost as much Baroque style as many versions by period ensembles of greater longevity. Abbado led this ensemble in all six Brandenburgs in 2007 at the Teatro Municipale Romolo Valli in Reggio Emilio, and the live performances were recorded by Deutsche Grammophon with close attention to details, as befits chamber music.
This pairing of concertos Nos 25 and 27, recorded with Chamber Orchestra of Europe, is Piotr Anderszewski’s third Warner Classics album of Mozart concertos. “In Mozart I tend to prefer to direct from the keyboard,” he explains, “His concertos are like chamber works … The piano is in dialogue with the orchestra, conversing and interacting all the time. The two works are very different… No 25 is very grand, complex and sophisticated; No 27, Mozart’s final piano concerto, is in a major key, but underneath it I sense an incredible sadness… It always amazes me how deep this music is.”
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)
The answer to the question what would post-Oistrakh Soviet Mozart sound like? is Vladimir Spivakov. The answer to the question what does Spivakov's Mozart sound like? is lightly, lively, elegant, and, every once in a while, extremely intense. In these recordings from the late '70s and early '80s of Mozart's violin concertos and Sinfonia Concertante with the English Chamber Orchestra and violist Yuri Bashmet, Spivakov plays and conducts with graceful artistry, consummate virtuosity, and deep humanity. In opening Allegros, Spivakov is airborne in the zephyrs of spring. In the closing Rondos, Spivakov is dancing in the ballrooms of Europe. But sometimes, especially in the central Andantes, Spivakov can sing with an intimacy and intensity that reveal a more profound Mozart, a Mozart touched not only by eternity but by mortality. In the central Andante of the Sinfonia Concertante with the soulful Yuri Bashmet, Spivakov proves he is not only the best of the post-Oistrakh Soviet violinists, but also one of the most moving violinists of the past 30 years.(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.