Sir Charles Mackerras returns to conduct the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in a definitive performance of five of Mozart's finest symphonies.This recording was named a Finalist at the 2010 Gramophone Awards and was acclaimed across the media.IRR Outstanding.a performance of absolute mastery.International Record Review. BBC Review Following up their acclaimed 2008 Linn release of Mozart's final great quartet of symphonies(its accolades include BBC Music Magazine Disc of the Year),Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra have turned their attentions to five of Mozart's most substantial earlier essays in the form.The same ingredients which made the previous release such a success abound again, but whereas the later symphonies come up against formidable competition in the catalogues,there is arguably even more call for these less-familiar works to be given the sparkling Mackerras/SCO treatment.For many listeners the combination of a buoyant, historically-informed approach with the sumptuous, lithe sound of a crack modern-instrument band is a winning one the best of both worlds.Never less than honeyed in tone,the strings use vibrato sparingly,as a subtle colouring device rather than a wearisome all-purpose wash.Speeds are consistently spritely(but never gabbled),textures are wonderfully clear,wind and brass vibrant.Repeats are taken routinely. Each of the disc's five symphonies is a gem in its own right,milestones in Mozart's increasing maturity and confidence.Nearly a decade separates the beguiling,urbane No.29 from the dazzling Linz,No.36 a seminal period in which Mozart experienced musical wonders on journeys to Mannheim and Paris,and finally broke free from the shackles of court employment in parochial Salzburg to settle as a freelancer in the thriving hotbed of artistic creativity that was late 18th century Vienna. In between is the ebullient No.31,the Paris,the small-but-perfectly-formed No.32 and the joyous Haffner,No.35. Ever the pragmatist, Mozart made various revisions to most of these symphonies after their composition. Most notable is the replacement Andante written for No.31 after the original proved unsuited to Parisian tastes.You can decide for yourself which you prefer but be wary of simply playing the tracks in sequence or you will end up with a four-movement symphony with two slow movements, certainly not what Mozart intended. The ever youthful 84-year-old Mackerras offers unique insights from a lifetime's devotion to Mozart,lavishing these magnificent works with as much love and commitment as he would later, greater scores.The glorious results are self-recommending.--Graham Rogers Recommended.There's so much to enjoy on these discs...and vivacity a plenty Gramophone.Classical CD of the Week.Those who bought the last instalment will not want to miss this outstandingly well-engineered sequel.(four stars)Sunday Times.Mackerras is the man,with rhythm and vigour to the fore.(four and a half stars)BBC Music Magazine.It's hard to imagine the final climax of the Linz more conclusively or majestically presented.(four stars)The Guardian.This is some of the best Mozart I have ever heard(five stars)Audiophile Audition.Some of the best Mozart symphony recordings ever(five stars)Classic FM Magazine.Mackerras has an unparalleled feeling for Mozart style...(five stars)Financial Times. Each of the disc's five symphonies is a gem in its own right...The glorious results are self-recommending. BBC Online.Everything comes stamped with character,intelligence and beauty.(four stars)The Times.
Mackerras has an unparalleled feeling for Mozart style, in the bracing allegros as much as the slow movements and minuets, and you really sense these performances taking off, in a way that leaves other interpreters sounding heavy-handed. --Financial Times