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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Mozart,
I agree with the other reviewers here: this is a marvellous set, and a real bargain, too. Not only do you get all five of the Violin Concertos, but the sublime Sinfonia Concertante too, and all in impeccable performances.
Grumiaux was universally hailed as a truly great violinist and a wonderful interpreter of Mozart, and he shows why in this set. His technique is superb, he uses his virtuosity to show the music to its best advantage rather than to draw attention to the virtuosity itself and he has real feeling without ever slipping into schmaltz. For example, the well-known (perhaps over-exposed) Adagio of K216 is sublime, uplifting and heart-string tugging stuff without a hint of sentimentality; just sheer beauty, beautifully expressed. I have never come across recordings I prefer to these, and there are some very fine ones available so that's high praise indeed.
The LSO under Colin Davis and the NPO under Raymond Leppard produce the excellence you would expect from such fine conductors and orchestras, and the whole adds up to extremely fine music-making. The remastering of the recordings from the 1960s is excellent, producing a fine, warm, clear sound. The only minor gripe I have is that, as with all the Philips Duo releases, the packaging looks rather cheap and the notes are sketchy. The music more than makes up for this, though.
In short, you can't go wrong with this set. As I write it's available for well under a fiver so you've nothing to lose really and a wonderful musical experience to gain. Recommended in the strongest terms.
150 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars flawless mozart,
Grumiaux's accounts of the Mozart concertos are impeccable.Perhaps the real joy of these perfomances is their understated simplicity. Characterised by restrained nobility, flawless technique and a sense of line and phrasing of such refinement his playing is pure magic. Sound is excellent and accompaniment most tasteful.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless beauty,
This generous (153-min) 2-CD Philips Duo recording, with its characteristically warm, natural acoustic, would be worth its price if only for the time-stopping Andante of the famous Sinfonia Concertante, a movement which is so unutterably lovely as to beggar belief. When Mozart`s music is this perfect, this ineffably glorious, not only does time seem to pause but the listener forgets in what era the music was composed, such is its fresh-as-new-paint timeless quality.
Arthur Grumiaux was a Belgian violinist who died in 1986 at the age of 65, and is too often sidelined when the greatest violinists are talked about. His tone here, as on all the Mozart and Bach recordings I have featuring this fine musician, is pure, sweet but never sentimental, and as musical as you could wish. It is often as though Mozart is in the room with you - which, in essence, he is.
His cohort here, on the K.364, is violist Arrigo Pellicia, who plays like a dream too.
Mozart was a seasoned, well-travelled composer at the grand old age of nineteen when he produced his five violin concertos, and what a lucky world we are for having them, even luckier that we have them in such luminous performances as here. I`m a sucker for a slow movement - it can often be where a composer exposes his or her heart, after all - and the Adagios and Andantes of these sparkling, youthful concerti are very lovely indeed, played with restrained passion and just the right level of empathy by Grumiaux. Hear how his warm, secure tone buoyed up by the LSO under Colin Davis is swept up by the swell of the orchestra nearly four minutes into the Adagio of the 5th concerto. Difficult to believe Mozart didn`t weep as he wrote it, and it`s the more moving for being so inevitable, so `right`.
For good measure a stray Adagio and Rondo round off the first disc, and they are as wonderful as anything else on this album of treasures.
The recordings of these works are from the `60s and, far from showing signs of wear, sound as if they were recorded yesterday.
I used to have ambivalent feelings towards the Salzburg boy-wonder (as a surprising number do) but I now think there was and is nobody to touch him. It is as though all music, before or since 1800, merges in him. It`s all there. When he composed most of the pieces on these two discs he was virtually still a boy. One can only listen to the outpourings of his great heart, at whatever age, marvel and be grateful.
The Philips Duo series is one of the essential products of the CD age, and this is one of the jewels in its crown.
As I say, timeless.
105 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like listening to light,
I have a row which is ongoing with my friend Tomas who says that Mozart is 'too light'. Listen to these recordings with the cherubic Arthur Grumiaux and you will hear that he is not 'too light' but 'like light'. It is like hearing sunlight. If that sounds a bit bipolar I apologise but this music is as near to an altered state as you can achieve without recourse to chemicals. I play it on my MP3 player whilst cycling to work, and in the autumn sunlight with mist on the canal, I can believe in angels and taste the next life. BUY.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful music and recordings,
I was looking for a complete set of Mozart's Violin Concertos and bought these CDs entirely on the strength of the previous 4 reviews. I'm absolutely delighted with the CDs - so a big thank you to the other reviewers - their comments are absolutely spot on and I've nothing to add other than to say "buy with confidence, you won't be disappointed"
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Mozart,
I strongly recommend this superb double cd of Mozart's Violin Concertos to anyone who is a Mozart fan. The music is wonderful and vibrant and the Adagios of Violin concertos No. 1 and No. 3 are just beautiful. I bought this cd a couple of months back and have listened to it over and over again. It is most relaxing and enjoyable.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart the complete violin concertos,
These cds (2) contains the 5 concertos, plus the sinfonia concertante for violin and viola, rondo in c, and adagio in e.
All played by the wonderful Arthur Grumiaux, and recorded betwen 1962 and 1967. If you love music, and in particular Mozart, this is essential listening.Grumiaux's playing is totally sympatetic to the Mozart style, especially in the adagios where his tone and pathos is just superb. This to me is true art, a brilliant soloist interpreting the scores left to us by probably the greatest composer of them all. I recommend this highly.
I purchased on the recommendation of your reviews. Many thanks to all.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy yourself some good speakers,
S Murphy is correct - BUY. You can do a lot worse than buy this in a bargain threesome with the Bach violin partitas and sonatas, also played by Grumiaux. I just bought some new speakers and CD2 of this set was the fist thing I played - luminous, shimmering, brilliant music. .
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite,
I am no musician - I only know what I like, and that would be an understatement for this little gem. Last night I was reading and listening to it again and had to hold my breath and turn the pages carefully so as not to miss a note.
I didn't know Arthur Grumiaux, but he plays exquisitely. He must have a wonderful instrument, too.
When you look at how old the original recordings were it is amazing how clear and faultless they are.
I would be happy to sit down and listen to this any time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars adjust the volume, and you're good to go . . .,
The playing on these two discs is simply superb, but it is recorded very "close up" (though with good balance between orchestra and soloist). With my Bose setup, I had to cut the volume down ten notches below my usual listening level to get a nice natural sound (from 59 to 49, for my headphones). Some listeners might feel that the orchestral image is still too "rich," and it's true that this isn't "original instrument" scale -- but Davis's tempos are so apt, and his attention to details of dynamics and texture are so evident, that I wasn't bothered by that. Davis was doing some superb work in the 1960's and 1970's in the opera house and with soloists like Grumiaux and Kovacevich, and this recording is evidence of it. The five violin concertos, all written before Mozart was 20, are lovely and graceful works, with a vein of expressiveness in Nos. 3 and 4 that prefigures the great piano concertos and symphonies to come. Grumiaux and Davis play them perfectly, in my judgment: they are not over-romanticized in phrasing for all the relatively big orchestral scale, and Grumiaux's tone is lovely but never cloying, and he plays with great rhythmic judgment throughout. Some of the cadenzas are his own; others are by Ysaye and Joachim -- all are apt. The greatest piece here is the longer and more ambitious Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola (K.364), with the violist Arrigo Pelliccia. It was composed about four years after the solo concertos, and it has a depth of expression beyond the violin works and more substantive development of the thematic material in the first two movements. It is hauntingly performed here.
The only concerto recordings that are as fine (or maybe better) than these are Francescatti's accounts of Nos. 3 and 4 with Bruno Walter -- one of the truly great Mozart recordings. One might quibble and call them too "romantic" but I wouldn't. Grumiaux is in that league.
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