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Mozart : String Quartets K. 387 & K. 458

Hagen Quartett

Quartets - Released December 7, 2022 | Myrios Classics

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Haydn: L'isola disabitata, Hob. XXVIII:9

Bernhard Forck

Opera - Released August 6, 2021 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
There isn’t exactly a plethora of recordings of Haydn’s 1779 opera, L’isola disabitata, about a pair of sisters shipwrecked on a desert island who eventually are rescued respectively by their husband and lover. However that’s perhaps not surprising when you consider its bumpy entry into the world. Penned for the name day of Prince Nicolaus of Esterházy, this is a work that should have been assured of a lavish first staging, but a month before the premiere, the Esterháza opera house went up in flames, meaning the performance instead took place in the palace, quite possibly without scenery. What is more, Haydn himself wasn’t entirely convinced by what he’d written, remarking in later years that it needed to be shortened – in part because of the slow tempo of much of the music. Still, it’s worth remembering that operas which work brilliantly onstage don’t always translate so well into audio-only in one’s living room; whereas operas that feel a bit of a slog in the theatre can suddenly end up sounding a dream from one’s armchair, where plot and pacing is less important than the overall quality of the music and performances. Happily, this particular recording of L’isola disabitata fits snugly into that latter category. Not least because it’s Haydn’s only opera for which he wrote an orchestral accompaniment for the recitatives; and while Haydn ended up deliberately cutting many of the elaborate instrumental sections from his printed score, fearing they were too demanding for both the players and the audience, Bernhard Forck and the Akademie für Alte Music Berlin have reinstated them all, using a recent edition by Thomas Busse. They’ve then presented them via readings that are unfailingly crisp, warm, committed and eminently convincing. As for the vocal soloists, these are Anett Fritsch as Costanza, André Morsch as Enrico, Sunhae Im as Silvia and Krystian Adam as Gernando, and all four are so enjoyable that it feels wrong to single out anyone. That said, if you’re looking for highlights then perhaps skip to the “Fra un dolce deliro” from Sunhae Im, which absolutely delivers on what it says on the tin, Im’s bright, supple soprano voice sounding winsomely sweet and sprightly, complemented by some equally lovely woodwind colour. Or there’s the elegantly persuasive “Non turbar quand’io mi lagno” from tenor Krystian Adam. Essentially, this is a performance that probably would have brought Haydn himself around to this opera’s pleasures. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Marek Janowski

Opera - Released July 16, 2021 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
After their acclaimed recording of Weber’s Freischütz, the Dresdner Philharmonie and its Principal conductor Marek Janowski present yet another German opera classic with Beethoven’s Fidelio. They work together with a stellar cast including Lise Davidsen (Fidelio/Leonore), Christian Elsner (Florestan), Georg Zeppenfeld (Rocco), Christina Landshamer (Marzelline) and Günther Groissböck (Don Fernando). This Beethoven’s masterpiece was recorded in two studio sessions, with two different, established choirs: the Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden, as well as the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir. Katharina Wagner and Daniel Weber have adapted the original dialogues for the recording. Fidelio is the quintessential rescue opera, in which a wife goes to any lengths to free her beloved from the chains of a barbaric, oppressive regime. Beethoven’s opera on the power of love and the enlightening power of humanity still resonates with us today, and its music continues to delight and inspire. © Pentatone
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Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 - Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21

Alessandro Deljavan

Classical - Released July 16, 2021 | Ars Produktion

An indispensable part of concert life in East Westphalia-Lippe and an attractive cultural ambassador for the region beyond the borders of Europe - the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie (Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra) lives up to these two claims in an exemplary manner. The orchestra impressively demonstrates its artistic versatility in a good 120 concerts a year, a wealth of radio productions and album recordings, and an extensive school and concert education program for the concertgoers of tomorrow. This release features Mozart’s Piano Concerto in F major No. 19 with Alessandro Deljavan playing the solo part, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C majo, Op. 21. © ARS-Produktion
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The Mozart Recordings

Alfred Burkner

Classical - Released November 20, 2020 | Andromeda

Booklet
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Mozart: Così fan tutte, K. 588 (Live)

La Petite Bande

Opera - Released March 18, 2008 | Accent

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Cherubini : Discoveries

Riccardo Chailly

Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The “discoveries” mentioned in the title of this record are mostly pieces of occasional light music, including a few marches, written by Luigi Cherubini when he was director of the French academy of music in Paris. But the lion’s share of the album conducted by Riccardo Chailly, head of the Filamornica della Scala in Milan, is the Italian composer’s sole symphony commissioned in London as a replacement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony which could not meet the required deadline. The German composer greatly admired Cherubini. But, unfortunately, Cherubini is not Beethoven and his skillful Symphony in D major, once championed by Arturo Toscanini, cannot bear comparison with Beethoven’s. Maestro Chailly’s performance generates beautiful energy and excitement but the conductor’s effort cannot turn the symphony into a masterpiece. The album is released to celebrate Beethoven’s birthday. It is worth listening to if you want to discover a composer that Beethoven praised and admired. © François Hudry/Qobuz

All Shall Not Die - Haydn String Quartets

Quatuor Hanson

Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Aparté

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
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Six quartets: six works that are key to understanding what Joseph Haydn brought to western music. This effort by the Quatuor Hanson is particularly successful because they are past masters in constructing and expressing the soul of this subtle art. And what's more, they bring it off with a fascinating level of instrumental skill. Listening to this piece, we have to bow down once again before the genius of a composer who, along with Boccherini, invented a new genre and immediately studded it with masterpieces of staggering quality. Judiciously picked out from among Haydn's vast corpus, these six quartets are touching both in their expressiveness and in the perfection of their writing. Not a single note out of place, a perfect balance of four voices and inspired right from the first moment up to the incomplete closing Opus 77, which was a contemporary of Beethoven's first Quartets, Op. 18 – works that betray the lessons their writer learned from his master. More than two hundred years after his death, Haydn has only just found recognition as one of the greats, although he had been accorded that status during his life. But his works for keyboards, the symphonies, the oratorios, and to a lesser extent, the operas, speak in his favour. More than a forerunner, Haydn is a founder, a genius whose influence was felt by those who came after him, foremost amongst whom Beethoven and Schubert. This splendid album puts him (back) in his rightful place. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Mozart: Grand Concerts pour Le Forte-Piano

Paul Badura-Skoda

Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Arcana

Booklet
Veteran pianist Paul Badura-Skoda was ahead of the curve among mainstream artists in adopting historical instruments, and by the time of the 2006 recording of this pair of Mozart concertos he had developed an entirely distinctive approach. Badura-Skoda plays a copy of a Viennese Walter fortepiano by Americo-Czech builder Paul McNulty; it doesn't sound like a modern grand piano, but it comes closer than most other early pianos, with smooth action nicely set off against a sharply contrasting tone when the pedal is applied. The instrument's varied powers are applied to a group of Mozart interpretations that emphasize the composer's reputation as a virtuoso. Badura-Skoda favors sharply differentiated surfaces, with both the overall mood and the local shadings quite dramatically filled out. He pushes the tempo, he goes tearing across the keyboard, he imbues the slow movements with heavy emotion. That of the Piano Concerto No. 12 in E flat major, K. 414, is theorized by the pianist in his booklet notes to be an homage to Johann Christian Bach, recently deceased at the time, and indeed the performance is a convincing realization of this idea. The outer movements of both concerts are lively and even a bit hyper; buyers should sample broadly, for this is the kind of performance you'll either love or hate. The opening Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat major, K. 271, generally played with a relaxed, expansive style, becomes something entirely different here, something that would have seemed brilliant but careening and unsettling to a listener of Mozart's day. The French title reproduced on the cover ("avec l'accompagnement des deux Violons, Alto et Basse...") suggests that Badura-Skoda is accompanied by only one instrument per part; in fact the Czech historical-instrument ensemble Musica Florea has 19 members performing here. The balance and coordination with Badura-Skoda at the keyboard are expertly handled. Notes are in French, German, English, and Italian, but curiously the English notes are different from the others, eschewing much of the analytical material but adding historical details pertaining to how the Piano Concerto No. 9 acquired the erroneous nickname of "Jeunehomme." Perhaps the intent was to reward speakers of multiple languages with additional information! © TiVo
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Haydn - Mozart

Jérôme Hantaï

Classical - Released May 17, 2019 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Mozart - Complete Sonatas For Keyboard And Violin, Vol. 1

Rachel Podger

Duets - Released January 11, 2005 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet
Fans who were blown away by Rachel Podger's acclaimed Bach and Telemann recordings have no doubt waited with baited breath for her to work the same magic on Mozart's sonatas for keyboard and violin. That these sonatas are largely -- though not always -- stacked against the violin is not an impediment to enjoyment, nor is the quirky quality of the fortepiano an obstacle: Podger is clearly the star of this recording, and her vivid playing always draws the listener's attention and admiration. Partly due to her strength and confidence, but also to the fascinating sounds she produces on her 1739 Pesarinius violin, Podger is always at the forefront and a delight to hear, even when Mozart gives her next to nothing to do. Even the tedious staccato arpeggios in the Andante of K. 6 are interesting here, proof positive that Podger can make music out of the flimsiest material. Gary Cooper is an enthusiastic partner to Podger, and his accompaniment is idiomatic and quite expressive; though the sound of the fortepiano may be an acquired taste for some, Cooper controls its timbres well enough to keep it from sounding too tinny or boxy. Channel Classics provides terrific sound on this SACD, though it is not compatible with some CD players, contrary to the label's claim. © TiVo
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Mozart : Symphonies Nos. 40 & 41

Herbert Blomstedt

Symphonies - Released September 7, 2018 | BR-Klassik

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
This 2018 BR Klassik release by Herbert Blomstedt and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra appears to be yet another mainstream rendition of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor and the Symphony No. 41 in C major, "Jupiter," but in this time of historically informed performances on period instruments, it's almost a novelty. In these live performances, Blomstedt doesn't make any overt attempts at following 18th century practices, nor does he scale down the ensemble to the size of a Classical orchestra, and the only aspects of historical interpretation that are obvious are the fairly brisk tempos and the taking of repeats, which are comparatively small concessions to authenticity. Beyond that, little separates Blomstedt's readings from many recordings from the mid-20th century, which predated the movement for early music scholarship, and listeners who grew up hearing Mozart played by modern symphony orchestras will take to this album readily. However, Blomstedt avoids the over-blending and bland homogeneity of many older performances and instead strives for distinctive tone colors, particularly in the woodwinds, and transparency of the counterpoint, which is essential in Mozart. Because so much attention is paid to conveying the music with absolute clarity, listeners from the traditionalist and revisionist camps can find much to appreciate in Blomstedt's meticulous and intensely focused performances. © TiVo
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Mozart : Piano Concertos No.20, K.466 & No.11, K.413

Rudolf Serkin

Classical - Released August 25, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Mozart : Piano Concertos No.17, K.453 & No.25, K.503

Rudolf Serkin

Classical - Released August 25, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Johann Christian Bach: Six quartettos for C. F. Abel

Thomas Fritzsch

Quartets - Released July 7, 2017 | Coviello Classics

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Loves Me... Loves Me Not... (Gluck, Mozart)

Camilla Tilling

Opera Extracts - Released February 3, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
This release by soprano Camilla Tilling is one of those with a dual purpose. One is on the surface: the album is a collection of arias about love in its more joyful and its sadder sides. The other is not explicit, but is equally important: the operatic languages of Mozart and Gluck have everything to do with each other, but the two are not so often placed side by side in recital. Tilling is in fine voice, and she executes both halves of this proposition beautifully. The most Gluckian opera in the Mozart canon is Idomeneo, K. 366, and Tilling opens with the overture in a fine, sharp reading by the historical-performance group Musica Saeculorum, followed by a pair of arias. These, and the other arias on the program, are preceded by their recitatives. That's unusual by and large in Classical-era opera recitals, but Tilling is in pursuit of the dramatic sense of each scene she explores, and she makes each one count. From there Tilling moves into Gluck and then into the later Mozart operas, touching on a few roles she might have previously avoided in her youthful, light-soprano guise. It all works wonderfully, and you can sample "Dove sono" for evidence that the singer's voice is as creamy as ever. Note also BIS' strong engineering work from Italy's Grand Hotel Toblach: not a usual venue for the label's team, but you'd never know that. An unusually satisfying operatic recital. © TiVo
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Mozart : Arien

Anett Fritsch

Secular Vocal Music - Released January 6, 2017 | Orfeo

Hi-Res Distinctions Gramophone Award - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles Classica
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Mozart : Così fan tutte, K. 588 (Remastered)

Erich Leinsdorf

Classical - Released January 1, 1968 | Sony Classical

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Leopold Mozart : Orchestral Works

Reinhard Goebel

Symphonic Music - Released June 10, 2016 | Oehms Classics

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
Leopold Mozart, father of Wolfgang, remains known as a composer mostly for a trumpet concerto and a few colorful but insubstantial works such as a Toy Symphony and a Musical Sleigh Ride. The orchestral works recorded here by the Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic under veteran conductor Reinhard Goebel are not common, but they make a better case for Leopold than do the aforementioned works. The best is saved for last: the Symphony in G major, LMV VII:G16 ("Neue Lambacher") has been claimed as the work of Wolfgang, and with its substantial four-movement structure and economical materials it is easy to see why. The Serenade in D major for trumpet, trombone, and ensemble, LMV VIII:9, is also an unusually strong work, its imaginative use of its outdoor-music models likewise suggesting the big serenades of Mozart the son. The Concerto for two horns and orchestra in E flat major, LMV IX:9 is an earlier work with influence from Telemann in the outer movements and a surprising degree of seriousness in the slow middle movement. In all, there's a lot here to make you wonder what was in the large corpus of Leopold Mozart's music that has been lost. The booklet tells this story (short version: it was Wolfgang's fault). The performances are not crack but are idiomatic, and the album was beautifully recorded by Bavarian Radio at its Munich studios. A substantial addition to the discography of the Rococo period in Austria. © TiVo
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Mozart : String Quartets K. 387 & K. 458 (5.1 Edition)

Hagen Quartett

Quartets - Released December 7, 2022 | Myrios Classics

Hi-Res Booklet