Mozart Symphonies 2 - SCO & Sir Charles Mackerras - BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review – Building A Library’

Less controversial, and just as invigorating, are Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. A modern orchestra given a period makeover. Mackerras choses a hungry and driven tempo, and...bends it only minimally in the quieter music. This is Mozart playing of athletic grace. Mackerras shapes the melodic lines with unfussy sensitivity and always has his eye on the music's overall architecture. Textures are ideally transparent with telling inner string detail and a rhythmic vitality founded on the lithe sinewy-basses.  No hint here of classical auto-chug. We'll fade in at the doleful bassoon solo and run on to the recapitulation, where as you'll hear, the old valve-less horns and trumpets can blare away thrillingly without obliterating the rest of the orchestra.

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Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in a performance unsurpassed for its élan and clarity of detail.

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Discussing the second movement:

Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra  conjure more of an andante lilt and make even more of the potential for drama; the music can sing, but it can also rasp and stab...Mackerras understands that this opera by other means, with pleading strings confronted by implacable brass and timpani. And what about that staccato scale-figure that hijacks the central development? Is it sinister or mysterious or comic? Or perhaps a mixture of all three? With many conductors it seems to simply to amble along. Mackerras ensures its appearance is charged with ever mounting tension.

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Charles Mackerras brings out the drama and unease at the heart of Mozart's andante...

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The performances that draw me most into this gloriously uplifting symphony all use mainly modern instruments with an awareness of period style and techniques...Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

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...but cruelly confined to a single Linz I'd have to punt for Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, superbly recorded by Linn. For me, they get everything excitingly and unaffectedly right: tempos, spirit, balance and a never-failing knack for preparing and clinching climaxes, not least in the closing stages of the Finale. For colour and sheer exhilaration, they are unrivalled in this movement.

BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review – Building A Library’
24 October 2015