Mozart CD's...need you help...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chuck L, Nov 11, 2002.

  1. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    My partner is a lover of Mozart. Can anyone suggest some great collections of music for a Christmas gift?
     
  2. Peter_A_M

    Peter_A_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Not to hijack this thread, but I'd also be interested in some recommendations. Does anyone know of any of his good clarinet concerto or quintet recordings?
     
  3. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    Not a problem at all Peter...nice to know other Mozart people here as well...
     
  4. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    The Symphonies:
    Nos. 35, 40 & 41: George Szell/Cleveland Orchestra on Sony (simply nothing better)
    Nos. 29-41: John Eliot Gardiner/The English Baroque Soloists on Philips
    Any individual or complete: Mackerras/Prague Chamber Orchestra on Telarc
    The Piano Concertos
    Complete: Malcolm Bilson/John Eliot Gardiner/English Baroque Soloists on Archiv
    Complete: Mitsuko Uchida/Jeffrey Tate/English Chamber Orchestra on Philips
    Complete: Murray Perahia/English Chamber Orchestra on Sony
    The Wind Concertos:
    Complete: Various/Christopher Hogwood/The Academy of Ancient Music on Decca
    The Violin Concertos:
    Complete: Arthur Grumiaux/London Symphony Orchestra on Philips
    Operas:
    Don Giovanni: Giulini/Philharmonia Orchestra on EMI
    Don Giovanni: John Eliot Gardiner/The English Baroque Soloists on Archiv
    Le nozze di Figaro: Giulini/Philharmonia Orchestra on EMI
    Le nozze di Figaro: John Eliot Gardiner/The English Baroque Soloists (also available on DVD-video) on Archiv
    Idomeneo: John Eliot Gardiner/The English Baroque Soloists on Archiv
    Masses
    Mass in C minor: John Eliot Gardiner/The English Baroque Soloists/Monteverdi Choir on Philips
    Requiem: John Eliot Gardiner/The English Baroque Soloists/Monteverdi Choir on Philips
    Piano Sonatas:
    Complete: Mitsuko Uchida on Philips
    String Quartets:
    The Haydn Quartets: Hagen Quartett on DG
    Other:
    Clarinet Quintet: Antony Pay/Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields on Philips
    All recordings are available at www.mdt.co.uk , prices there will also be lower than anyone in the states. Some recordings may not be available in the states.
    Peter_A_M,
    Clarinet Concerto: Antony Pay/Christopher Hogwood/The Academy of Ancient Music on Decca
    Clarinet Quintet: Antony Pay/Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields on Philips
     
  5. Peter_A_M

    Peter_A_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Seth,

    Thanks! I played the concerto in high school but never actually got a copy for myself. I'll be sure to include those performances and a few of the other ones you mentioned in my next CD run.

    NP: Bill Evans - Explorations
     
  6. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    Damn Seth! Thank you so much for this impressive list! At least that makes shopping for these easier!
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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  8. andrew markworthy

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    Depends whether you want modern or period instrument recordings. This matters a *huge* amount with Mozart.

    Basically, nearly all the instruments used in an orchetra underwent massive changed during the 19th century, so that e.g. a trumpet in a modern orchestra doesn't sound the same as a trumpet in an orchestra that Mozart knew. In addition, during the 19th century, the concept of what constituted an orchestra changed - basically, more players got added, and the string section became proportionately larger. The end result is that the basic orchestral sound from a 21st century orchestra is rather different from one playing in the 1780s (i.e. when Mozart was around).

    On top of this, musicians changed their ideas about how Mozart and contempories should be played 'correctly'. This shows itself in a huge number of ways, some subtle, others rather blatant. E.g. the speed at which passages were played was altered (generally, slow movements were played faster in Mozart's day, if this makes sense!), solo instruments in concerti would often play along with the orchestra in between their solo bits, etc, etc.

    This means that a 'modern' interpretation of Mozart will sound very different from one which uses the instruments Mozart knew and the playing practices that were current in Mozart's day. Whether you like this is a matter of personal taste (basically, period perfomances generally sound lighter and more nimble, modern ones richer and less 'jangly'' but at the cost of sounding rather more bloated and ponderous). Personally I prefer the period instrument performances of Mozart's symphonies and operas, but modern instrument performances of the piano works, including the concerti (to my ears, a period instrument piano sounds far too tinny). However, I must stress there's no right or wrong in this. Mozart is sublime if it is well palyed, regardless of whether it's a modern or a period performance.

    For what it's worth, I'd advise getting boxed sets of Mozart - it works out a lot cheaper in the long run.

    Symphonies - the period instrument performances directed (not conducted; conductors are a 19th century invention) by Christopher Hogwood on L'Oiseau Lyre. These were the first complete set of period instrument performances of the symphonies are are now available on budget price (at least in the UK). An interesting thing to note is that you get all the versions of each symphony (in some cases a symphony exists in 2 or 3 different versions, using different instruments, even entirely different movements).

    Operas - the period instument performances directed by John Elliot Gardener (I think on Deutsche Gramophon).

    Piano concerti - Perhaia on Sony (though note the piano is recorded in a kind of aural 'bloom' that may annoy some people).

    Piano sonatas - Uchida on Philips

    String quartets - the Quartetto Italiano on Philips.

    Clarinet concerto - there is a legendary performance by Jack Brymer if you can track it down.

    Hope this is of use.
     
  9. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    I'd argue that the fortepiano works better than the Steinway for the keyboard works. It's obvious especially in the later piano concertos that Mozart was counting on the fp's reverberation rate. You simply can't pull of some of his "quick attacks" on the Steinway. However, the downside to Mozart on the fp is that there are no truly great pianist like Perahia playing them. The Bilson/Gardiner cycle has recently been reissued at budget price (about $60-$70) and I highly recommend that. Bilson's playing is very good, and as usual, Gardiner is able to bring to life to the orchestral part.
    With Hogwood, I find him to be too obsessed with being historically correct. His recordings tend to be pedantic and lacking insight. He owes most of his great recordings, like the Clarinet concerto, to the brilliant soloists he works with. (BTW, another reason to get his recording of the clarinet concerto is because it uses the basset clarinet - because this clarinet went out of popularity shortly after Mozart's death, the concerto has been performed with other clarinets that have different ranges than the basset, resulting in score editting). All too often his recordings sound like an exercise in playing composer x's music on period instruments.
    I prefer Gardiner's style of period performance. He uses scholarly research as a bases for coming up with his own interpretation. For instance, in his recording of the late Mozart symphonies, he did away with the continuo harpsichord. While its use may have been the style of the time when the symphonies were written, it's clearly not needed, and even gets in the way in the final few symphonies. He also doesn't take all the repeats.
    As for buying a box set of the symphonies, I'd first recommend Gardiner's set. He smartly only recorded from symphony 29 on. While many of the early symphonies are quite good, it's 35-41 that you'll be coming back to the most. Next is Mackerras' complete set. It's played on modern instruments but in a period performance style (chamber orchestra, fast tempi, little vibrato and even the continuo harpsichord). A real bargain box set can be found at HMV.com. They are exclusively selling Pinnock's complete period instrument set for $25. After these three, then I would recommend Hogwood's box set.
     
  10. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  11. andrew markworthy

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    Seth, I agree with your comments (save Hogwood, who I think is okay!). However, I think it's worth stressing that Mozart-period instruments can sound 'jangly' to ears accustomed to modern instruments, and it's a case of 'sample before you buy'. Personally I've never got used to the sound of a Mozart (or Beethoven) period piano. However, I do agree that you can get some of the intended effects better on a period piano.
     

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