Mozart Symphonies/Abbado

0 of 5 stars

Symphony No.29 in A, K201
Symphony No.33 in B flat, K319
Symphony No.35 in D, K385 (Haffner)
Symphony No.38 in D, K504 (Prague)
Symphony No.41 in C, K551 (Jupiter)

Orchestra Mozart
Claudio Abbado

Recorded between July 2005 and November 2006 in Teatro Manzoni, Bologna

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: July 2008
477 7598 (2 CDs)
Duration: 2 hours 27 minutes



gravitas in, say, the first movement of the ‘Prague’ Symphony (Rafael Kubelík an exemplar here), yet the middle movement of K504 (I hesitate to write “slow”) is wonderfully treasured and cherished and the finale is a witty riposte, straight out of a comic opera. Similarly the ‘Jupiter’ can be a little lightweight but rarely does it sound as translucent as here.

It probably doesn’t need to be said that the playing is quite superb and dedicated. The winds and timpani are the equal of the strings and there is throughout both clarity of detail and warmth of expression that is often captivating. But there is no preciousness and the elegance and dynamism of the performances gratify the ear. Abbado observes every repeat, which can be too much of a good thing (but not in the finale of the ‘Jupiter’) – certainly in Symphony No.29 (here stretched to 30 minutes despite the forward-moving tempos) and includes a return visit to the second half of the first movement of the ‘Prague’. Missing though is an exposition repeat in the first movement of the ‘Haffner’, which can be observed in some editions of it, and its lack here means that the following Andante rather dwarfs it.

But these are small points. Overall, this is a set of performances brimful of culture and love, and a youthful enthusiasm that Abbado has not only inspired but also taps into. These (recorded live in superb sound) renditions are not the only word, or the last word, and are maybe best experienced a symphony at a time with a good break taken between each one, otherwise the musical approach may be thought somewhat within parameters and not always revealing of Mozart’s “multi-faceted and complex” character that Abbado speaks of. Nevertheless, there is much here to relish and return to.

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