Related Reviews
ClassiqueInfo Disque
'Il y règne partout une sorte d’excitation bouillonnante, pleine d’énergie.'
more >>
OpusHD
OpusHD d'Or Award: offrant la grâce et la poésie que peu de formations baroques peuvent atteindre
more >>
OpusHD
OpusHD d'Or Award: offering the grace and poetry only a few Baroque orchestras can attain
more >>
Stereophile
"...consistently outstanding..."
more >>
hi-fi+
5 Stars
"These are the best of the best and should not be missed on any account."
more >>
Classical.net
"...perhaps the finest recordings of these works I know."
more >>
Scherzo
Excepcional: "Ligera, chispeante, grácil y afirmativa: maravillosa, en una palabra."
more >>
Sound and Music
"Da non perdere."
more >>
MusicWeb International
"so rich is the experience on offer here...this is top-notch stuff from a winning team."
more >>
ClassicsToday France
"Interprétativement il n'y a pas de surprises: c'est vif et chantant..."
more >>
The Sunday Post
"They're a pure joy..."
more >>
The Guardian
4 Stars
"...it's hard to imagine the final climax of the Linz more conclusively or majestically presented."
more >>
OpusMusica
Disco del mes: "Sencillo, sin pretensiones de monumentalidad ni de renovación, pero un clásico."
more >>
MusicWeb International
Download Recording of the Month: "Here is all the delicacy of Mozart but with his underlying strength, too."
more >>
Die Zeit
"So schön, so vollendet..."
more >>
North London News
"...this set represents probably the finest modern recordings of these works."
more >>
classicalsource.com
"...powerful and driving..."
more >>
Metro
"The magic continues..."
more >>
Classic FM Magazine
5 Stars
"Some of the best Mozart symphony recordings ever?"
more >>
Klassik.com
4½ Stars
'...dem Zenit der Mozart-Interpretation angekommen.'
more >>
The Scotsman
5 Stars
"In all these, the crack partnership...repeatedly imbues the music with finesse and energy."
more >>
The Herald
"Great conducting, playing and recording throughout."
more >>
Financial Times
5 Stars
"Mackerras has an unparalleled feeling for Mozart style..."
more >>
BBC Online
"Each of the disc's five symphonies is a gem in its own right...The glorious results are self-recommending."
more >>
BBC Music Magazine
4½ Stars
"Mackerras is the man, with rhythm and vigour to the fore."
more >>
Sunday Times
4 Stars
Classical CD of the Week: "Those who bought the last instalment will not want to miss this outstandingly well-engineered sequel."
more >>
The Times
4 Stars
"Everything comes stamped with character, intelligence and beauty."
more >>
International Record Review
IRR Outstanding: "...a performance of absolute mastery."
more >>
Gramophone
Gramophone Recommended: "there's so much to enjoy on these discs...and vivacity aplenty"
more >>
Audio Video Club of Atlanta
"...highly satisfactory..."
more >>
The Observer
"Highly recommended."
more >>
McAlister Matheson Newsletter
"It's a fascinating journey...Unmissable!"
more >>
SA-CD.net
5 Stars
"[The SCO] play like gods throughout...Highly recommended indeed."
more >>
Musical Pointers
"...superb, vital accounts of five more important Mozart symphonies..."
more >>

Mozart Symphonies 2 - SCO & Sir Charles Mackerras - Audiophile Audition


31 March 2010
Audiophile Audition
Steven Ritter
5 Stars

I had hoped that after Linn's last release of these forces playing the last four symphonies of Mozart that Mackerras was re-examining the master in a more in-depth way, a second go-around after his popular but (to me) misguided complete set on Telarc that used the harpsichord. That set also now appears far more dogmatic and stale, a one-size-fits-all approach that I don't think has held up well over time.

This release does and will.

This is some of the best Mozart I have ever heard, and to start with the last first, the only-or one of the very few-"Linz" symphonies that can stand comparison with Bernstein. Though I will admit that Mackerras's quick minuets are just a little too rapid for my taste-scherzo had not yet become the norm, and I am quite sure Mozart had a danceable tempo in mind for most of them-I do wish that a stately pace had been taken. But this is a quibble as Mackerras is still able to sell the movements, and especially in the "Linz" the first movement is so beautifully crafted, along with a perfectly proportioned and exciting finale, that all else is forgiven, and forgiven easily.

If I had to say so, it is the "Haffner" that is probably the weakest here, but that is a very relative term, useful only when compared to my two favorites, Szell and Iona Brown on Hanssler, one of the most underrated recordings in existence. No. 32 is wonderful, sprightly and upbeat.

No. 29 was a complete surprise-I just wasn't expecting the laid-back Karl Bohm-like approach to this work. Mackerras luxuriates in this most lyrical of Mozart's early works, and takes all the advantage of the A-major sunshine that is build into this piece. The Andante especially is a marvel to hear, with robust and gorgeous wind playing.  No. 31, the "Paris" symphony that Mozart wrote for great effect-the audience was said to have broken out in applause at some of the more appealing passages in the first movement-is here given the full crowd-pleasing treatment, not trying to make any of Mozart's sometimes more egregious play-ups to the audience profound or deep, but instead just emphasizing all the more the great fun there is to be had in this barn-burner of a work.

The Scots are true Mozart-heroes at this point, having proved that point many times over with their many recordings. This is first-rate Mozart all the way, essential for anyone serious about the composer. Need I mention that the sound is terrific?
Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Sir Charles MackerrasSir Charles Mackerras
Mozart Symphonies 29, 31 (Paris), 32, 35 (Haffner) & 36 (Linz)Mozart Symphonies 29, 31 (Paris), 32, 35 (Haffner) & 36 (Linz)