Related Reviews
iTunes
Named number 8 in: iTunes top 30 classical albums
more >>
The Observer
'Mozart's last four symphonies...have rarely shone as luminously as in these uplifting accounts.'
more >>
The SCOTS Magazine
'...a lasting momento of a tremendous association.'
more >>
allmusic.com
"They have the same drive and verve as his earlier work, but his vision now seems clearer and more radiant than before."
more >>
Audiophilia.com
"...once playing, it is almost impossible to turn off!"
more >>
ResMusica.com
une présentation exceptionnellement belle
more >>
6moons.com
Blue Moon Award: "...Sir Charles Mackerras' vision with the SCO is one of the very finest of the modern era..."
more >>
StereoMojo
Publisher’s Choice Recording: "complete mastery...One can only say bravo."
more >>
The Berkshire Review
"...the greatest interpretation of the Mozart symphonies of our moment..."
more >>
Qantas in-flight magazine
Original passsion and flair...Outstanding.
more >>
Sunday Times
Number 1 Classical Record of 2008
more >>
HMV Choice
Number 1 Classical Record of 2008
more >>
AudioVideoHD
5 Stars
"En definitiva, una auténtica delicia, con una grabación exquisita, característica intrínseca de Linn Records."
more >>
Fanfare
"Magnificent."
more >>
Star Ledger of New Jersey
4 Stars
"...blending period style with modern virtuosity."
more >>
Classica Repertoire
"Nous aimons...beaucoup"
more >>
LiveGuide.com
"These may be the best versions of Symphonies 38 and 39 ever recorded..."
more >>
Crescendo
An "admirable" performance
more >>
Scherzo
'Excepcional' Award from the Spanish publication
more >>
MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: "...a benchmark of our time."
more >>
Expansion
'Mozart vive!'
more >>
hi-fi +
4½ Stars
Quite brilliant...truly majestic.
more >>
Opus Musica
Disc of the Month
more >>
Early Music Review
...powerful, individual readings.
more >>
Klassik.com
5 Stars
So gelingt gleichsam unter der Hand Mozart-Interpretationen, die man zu den überzeugendsten dieser Sinfonien zählen darf.
more >>
Gramophone
Every bit as good as you would expect. Gramophone Recommended.
more >>
HiFi News
Album of the Month
more >>
The Ticket (Ireland)
4 Stars
simply irresistible
more >>
The Guardian (Live)
5 Stars
Mackerras's Mozart is full of the life-affirming vitality more often associated with youth
more >>
International Record Review
A vibrant and utterly gripping appearance from first moment to last, and all caught in sound that is amazingly lifelike. No Mozartian should be without these inspiring discs.
more >>
audiophile.no
5 Stars
Linn Records har spilt inn Mozart sine fire siste symfonier. Til denne oppgaven har de selvfølgelig håndplukket Scottish Chamber Orchestra dirigert av Sir Charles Mackerras.
more >>
MusicalCriticism.com
4 Stars
"[It] really is as good as it gets."
more >>
McAlister Matheson Music
A recording of "delicacy and spice...grandeur and exuberance"
more >>
Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
some spectacular readings in first class sonics
more >>
The Scotman (Live)
4 Stars
"...power-packed Mozart that has you sitting on the edge of your seat craving more."
more >>
The Times
5 Stars
among the very best recordings of these four symphonies on disc
more >>
BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
Orchestral Disc of the Month: "exhilarating ... ravishing"
more >>
The List
4 Stars
exciting and thrilling
more >>
MusicOMH.com
5 Stars
Anyone who loves classical music has to own this recording...this will be one of the year's finest recordings.
more >>
The Observer
Mozart's last four symphonies...have rarely shone as luminously as in these uplifting accounts.
more >>
Independent on Sunday
...Few recordings have the authority and warmth of this release.
more >>
The Herald
5 Stars
This will have you out of your seat with excitement...a Mozart set to match any.
more >>
The Week
5 Stars
...Astonishing...
more >>
Financial Times
...Sheer vitality...
more >>
BBC Online
This recording should have you stampeding to the record shops.
more >>
Metro
5 Stars
Pure delight.
more >>
SA-CD.net
5 Stars
I can't imagine Mozart being better performed...a wonderful set that will remain long in the memory.
more >>
The Sunday Times
5 Stars
Classical CD of the Week: Possibly their finest record to date...I don't know more enthralling accounts of the G minor and the Jupiter on disc.
more >>
ClassicsTodayFrance.com
4½ Stars
An outstanding review for the orchestral recording
more >>
The Guardian
5 Stars
These are the finest versions of Mozart's greatest symphonies to have appeared on disc in years.
more >>
ClassicalSource.com
Beautifully judged...exciting listening
more >>

Mozart Symphonies - SCO & Sir Charles Mackerras - Atlanta Audio Society


01 March 2008
Atlanta Audio Society
Phil Muse

Sir Charles Mackerras has enjoyed a distinguished recording career, going back to the early years of the stereo era. In all that time, and with more than 300 recordings still on the market, he seems never to have had a bad day in the studio (a key: Mackerras always has thoroughly notated orchestral parts, so as to have the precious time to work on interpretive matters with the musicians). At the age of 82, he wasn't about to go bad on us.

And he doesn't disappoint here, leading the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Mozart's Symphonies 38 thru 41. Critics in the U.K. have been talking this set up as if it were the greatest thing since the last match between Arsenal and United. The amazing thing about all this praise is that it is not just empty hype. The ebullient Aussie communicates the essence of Mozart to a splendid orchestra in performances marked by a keen sense of movement and a feeling for rhythmic values. The result: performances that may well take their place among the best on record.

There is good reason for programming Symphony No. 38 in D, K504, the "Prague," with the three last symphonies Mozart penned in the remarkably short space of six weeks in the late summer of 1788. These works all reflect Mozart's intensive study of Bach. All benefit from increased contrapuntal muscle and a monumental form that was new to symphonic writing. You get a feeling of grandeur in the Mackerras performances, a feeling of sweep and continuously probing movement. Mackerras is particularly adept in taking the forte outbursts in the opening movements of Symphonies 38 and 41, the "Jupiter," right in tempo without pausing even slightly, so as not to undercut their effectiveness by "telegraphing his punches," as they say in the fight game.

Sir Charles shows a nice feeling for color and nuance in all these performances. He is helped immeasurably by the high level of musicianship among the SCO players, particularly the woodwind soloists. These late symphonies are marked by the number of glowing obbligato passages for the winds, including the clarinet, an instrument that was new to the orchestra. It first makes its appearance in Symphony No. 39 in E-flat. K543, where it pervades the color palette of the entire work. It is particularly striking in the trio of the minuet, where the first clarinet plays serenely in its high register while the second chatters away playfully two octaves below.

Mackerras shows a fine discrimination in the various mood shadings of Mozart's slow movements. All are Andantes but with vital differences. The Andante in 38 is marked by major/ minor changes, the overall mood being that of an operatic scene. 40's is sad and yearning, in keeping with the striking emotional range of this work. That of 39 is delicately expressive, "romantic" music before its time, while the Andante in 41, with the added color of muted violins, is marked by serene beauty.

There are only three good ways to begin a symphony, and Mozart uses them all in his last three symphonies, opening with an attention getting coup d'achet  (literally, hatchet chop) in 39, plunging without warning right into the middle of the action in 40, and beginning with a slow introduction leading up to the principal theme in 41. Mozart's finales are also very striking: listen for the chattering bassoons and clarinets in the Allegro finale of 39, where the sweep and perpetual movement of the performance give the impression that the movement could go on forever until Mozart decides otherwise, bringing matters to a surprise halt.


Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Mozart Symphonies 38 - 41Mozart Symphonies 38 - 41