Two arias include obbtigato instruments. The violin version of the better known setting of the same text with piano obbligato k505. It is the soprano version of the long aria sung by an mezzo or tenor Idamante in Idomeneo. While not quite as phenomenally beautiful as k505, it is both lively and demanding, requiring virtuoso contributions from conductor, orchestra, violinist and soprano. For k505, best that I have heard is Ameling/Dalton Baldwin/Edo de Waart (see my review). Hendricks/Tate/Jose Luis Garcia and the ECO are equally good in the violin setting.
This is the most beautiful of Mozart playing, his last piano concerto given here by Emil Gilels with total clarity. This is a classic performance, memorably accompanied by the VPO and Böhm. Suffice it to say that Gilels sees everything and exaggerates nothing, that the performance has an Olympian authority and serenity, and that the Larghetto is one of the glories of the gramophone. He's joined by his daughter Elena in the Double Piano Concerto in E flat, and their physical relationship is mirrored in the quality, and the mutual understanding of the playing: both works receive marvellous interpretations. We think Emil plays first, Elena second, but could be quite wrong. The VPO under Karl Böhm is at its best; and so is the quality of recording, with a good stereo separation of the two solo parts, highly desirable in this work.
This is a welcome re-issue from EMI. Kathleen Battle, in one of her early recordings sings with grace, precision and elegance, excatly what is needed for this repertoire. Her tone is bright and her 'runs' are executed cleanly. Her rendition of the famous motet Exultate Jubilate, to me, ranks as the finest available on disc.
Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro is an unforgettable opera about love, desire and the primal force of uncontrollable passion. Concluding the Salzburg Festival’s highly successful Mozart / Da Ponte cycle, director Sven-Eric Bechtolf sets this emotional tour de force in a stately English country house during the 1920s. The renowned Vienna Philharmonic ensures an exceptional evening of music from Mozart’s birthplace. “Everything about the show exuded immediacy and naturalness: the intriguingly updated production by the director Sven-Eric Bechtolf; the winning performances of a compelling cast; and the supple, glowing playing that the conductor Dan Ettinger drew from the Vienna Philharmonic…”. (The New York Times)
Originating by way of an Aix-En-Provence Festival staging, William Christie and his Arts Florissants bring dramatic flair and musical panache to Mozart's great late Singspiel in equal measure. To begin with, there's a dream cast led by the alluring pairing of Hans Peter Blochwitz as Tamino and Rosa Mannion as Pamina. Anton Scharinger makes for an earthy Papageno, Reinhard Hagen is a commanding Sarastro, whilst Natalie Dessay's input as Queen of the Night comes over in both her showpiece arias as steadfast and electrifying. The casting in depth continues: rare is a Magic Flute that can boast singers of the calibre of Willard White and Linda Kitchen in the relatively small roles of Speaker and Papagena. Then, the uniformly warm vocal blend is homogeneously matched, note for note, with the gut strings and less aggressive winds of Les Arts Florissants. Not that there's anything limp or lacklustre about Christie's brisk tempi; whilst sharp editing maintains the theatrical urgency. The melliflously played "magic" flute and exact keyed glockenspiel input for Papageno's bells are further examples of the care which has gone into this state of the art "authentic" interpretation. With a work like The Magic Flute, recorded choices are voluminous. Neville Marriner with his Academy of St Martins-in-the-Fields on Phillips puts in a brave showing, but William Christie maybe wins out in a thorough interpretation which simultaneously celebrates the opera's joy and mystery. –Duncan Hadfield
When Richard Maunder's editions get together with Christopher Hogwood and co, you know instantly that the result will be spot on. The sound of the boy treble line (singing alto as well) is earthy yet in tune, and well complemented by the strong lower parts. The orchestra is supportive yet unobtrusive. The dynamics and phrasing are all well chosen and executed. The choice of soloists is inspired, especially Arleen Auger - such a beautiful voice. It is just a pity that there is not more on the disc - some have argued in the 'Dona ut Kyrie' tradition that an Agnus Dei could be tacked on at the end using the music of the Kyrie. An excellent recording.
This disc of Mozart's opera arias manages to capture the perfection of Kathleen Battle's first disc of Mozart concert arias conducted under Previn. We are accorded the opportunity and privilege to hear Ms. Battle essay characters that she never did in the opera house, Constanze, Cherubino, and the Countess among them. In "Porgi amor," the CD's opening track, she negotiates the long passages of the Countess' aria with seeming ease. Hers is a smaller voice than we are used to hearing in the role but this is unimportant as her vocal acting is superb, bringing the heartache housed in the libretto fully to life…By M. Bish