Mozart: Symphonies Vol. 6 - Adam Fischer
Dacapo Records 6.220541
Mozart: Symphony No. 19 in E-flat major K.132, Symphony No. 20 in D major K.133, Symphony No. 21 in A major K.134, Symphony No. 26 in E-flat major K.184 (161a)
Danish Radio Sinfonietta
Adam Fischer (conductor)
This CD is released by the Danish National Chamber Orchestra on its own record label DRS, distributed by Dacapo. This is the second SACD in the acclaimed new series of the complete symphonies by W.A.Mozart in the hands of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra and their renowned Austro-Hungarian chief conductor Adam Fischer. On this volume you can enjoy the symphonies nos. 19, 20 and 21 written in the summer of 1772, as well as Symphony no. 26 from 1773. The CD booklets in this series offer the conductor's commentaries to each symphony as well as reflective essays on W.A. Mozart and the Classic period.
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Review by John Miller - February 11, 2009
Mozart was a mere stripling of 16 when he wrote the symphonies on this disc, dating from 1772-1773. They came at the end of his years of travel around Europe with his father, in which he was avidly absorbing music of different styles and flavours. The latter part of the tour was in Italy, where he was dazzled by the Mediterranean warmth and by Italian opera - he premièred his own Lucia Silla in Milan in 1772.
The Mozarts returned to the realities of life at the Archbishop's Court in Salzburg in 1773, where Mozart as a court musician plunged himself into putting his experiences into a number of compositions, including more symphonies. This was still a relatively new musical form, developing from the operatic overture and the Baroque dance suite, and it was settling into its Classical four movement form of two fast movements interpolated with a slow movement and a minuet. KV 132, KV133, KV 134 and the three movement KV184 (of 1773) all show Mozart experimenting like a master chef with his new ingredients, trying out new orchestral textures, instrumental effects and combinations. K132, for example, is scored for strings, 2 Oboes and no less than 4 Horns. The D-major Symphony K133 is scored for strings, 2 Oboes (one Flute in the Andante), 2 Horns and 2 Trumpets, but it is missing the timpani part which would normally accompany a work in D major with trumpets. Others have written suitable timpani parts for the work, but Fischer does not use them here.
The Symphony No 21 in A-major K134 ended this flurry of symphonies in the summer of 1772, and KV 184 in E flat major followed in March of 1773. It has only three movements, and a very different character from the previous set. The first movement is rather violent, and the slow movement in the minor is despairing, but the last is ardent and joyous. Mozart scholar Neil Zaslaw believes that the symphony was originally intended to serve as an Overture for some type of theatre production. This is based on the exceptionally serious nature of the work, its 3 movements being played without a break, and an orchestra that uses 2 Flutes and 2 Oboes playing simultaneously.
Adam Fischer is the Chief Conductor of the Danish Radio Sinfonietta, and of course has impeccable credentials with historically informed performances from his association with the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra and its Haydn symphony series. His readings of these Mozart symphonies are a model of Classical taste and rhetoric; Italianate in grace, youthful in vigour and invention and full of a playful and sometimes gruff sense of humour. Repeats are generous, allowing us to hear even more of the superbly committed and affectionate playing by the Sinfonietta, who often take the breath away with their virtuosity and precision in ensemble. Notably, this series uses the latest Urtext New Mozart Edition scores.
At first one is surprised to hear a modern instrument chamber orchestra placed in the empty swimming bath like acoustic of the Danish Radio Concert Hall in Copenhagen. However, the ear quickly adjusts, as the band is placed comfortably close, with a good front to back perspective. The horns and trumpets have plenty of room to develop their tone excitingly, and there is no lack of detail from inner parts. The bass is proportional, without boom.
Dacapo's clean-lined and elegantly presented Digipak is unusual in presenting some interestingly subjective thoughts of Fischer's about the nature of the music, and short essays on the flute in classical music, as well as a discussion on what we call 'Clasical'.
Another outstanding issue in this series, which mostly out-sparkles Jaap ter Linden's complete Mozart symphony set (with pseudo-surround channels) from Brilliant. Don't miss this effervescently joyful music, fizzing straight out of the Mozartian Fountain of Youth.
Copyright © 2009 John Miller and HRAudio.net