Cosi fan tutte
(Veronique Gens, Werner Gura, et al.; Concerto Koln; Rene Jacobs, conductor)
Too long considered an erotic trifle, this was the last of Mozart's three da Ponte operas to be recognized as a masterpiece of psychological insight, of the same caliber as Shakespeare's bittersweet comedies. This is a magnificently bracing period-instrument interpretation, but never fussy, under the keen and witty direction of Rene Jacobs. And the bonus CD-ROM allows you to explore the context and character of Mozart's opera in fascinating detail
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
(Ian Bostridge, Christine Schäfer, et al.; Les Arts
Florissants; William Christie, conductor)
Here's another exciting period-instrument performance of
the operatic Mozart, all beautifully held together by the
tasteful and intelligent William Christie. In spite of the
silly complications--and then-fashionable Turkish setting--
of the libretto, Mozart displays his astonishing facility
for characterizing nuance and situation through music. If
you know only Mozart's later collaborations with Da Ponte,
this is an opera you will likely find delightfully
(Irma Beilke, Erna Berger, et al.;
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Favres Solisten Vereinigung; Sir Thomas Beecham; conductor
This newly reissued and bargain-priced version of Mozart's
sublime singspiel is a must. The interpretation by Sir
Thomas Beecham from the late 1930s has retained its
legendary status ever since it was first released on 78s. No
matter how many times "Die Zauberflote" has been recorded,
few can match Beecham's musical insight, wit, and nobility.
Mozart, Brahms: Clarinet Quintets
(Emerson String Quartet; David Shifrin, clarinet)
The Emersons and clarinetist Shifrin emphasize smoothness of
line and a creamy blend of sound in this polished 1997
performance of the Mozart quintet. Tempos are ideal and
understatement rules this interpretation, while the Brahms
quintet is conveyed with a dramatic passion.
Mozart: Piano Concertos no 23 & 24
(Richard Goode, piano; Orpheus Chamber Orchestra)
Pianist Richard Goode's latest CD tackles two of Mozart's best-loved piano concertos, Nos. 23 and 24. Like his previous efforts recording Mozart, these are impeccable performances of sparkling technique, tender lyricism, and great dialogue between the instruments. To top it off, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra has never sounded better.
Mozart: Piano Concertos nos 20, 24, etc
(Alfred Brendel, piano; Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor)
Alfred Brendel's numerous recordings (and rerecordings) may be hit-or-miss, but his latest--a disc featuring Mozart's two minor-key piano concertos--is a winner. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Sir Charles Mackerras lend a supportive and collaborative hand to the pianist, and Brendel delivers an outstanding performance with gorgeous phrasings.
Piano Concertos nos 10, 19 & 20
(Alexandre Rabinovitch, piano and conductor; Martha Argerich,
piano; Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto)
These are glorious performances of three very different
piano concertos by Mozart. Martha Argerich tears into
No. 20's darkness with great fury, abetted by Rabinovitch's
tense, turmoil-filled accompaniment; she plays Beethoven's
appropriately heavy cadenzas with brilliance, and her
headlong blaze into the final movement is breathtaking.
Rabinovitch plays and leads No. 19 with charm and
virtuosity. All told, a delightful disc.