on 19 November 2013
I'm stunned by this recording. It's better than I dared to hope.
I've heard any number of other recordings of the Mozart violin concertos. Standage is good for a period instrument recording.
But this is in a different league. Huggett and the OAE have created magic here. The sensitivity and musicality of the playing are at the top of their game. It's like a whole extra dimension to the music has been discovered. Every phrase is a delight.
Huggett's tone is rich and beautiful, but still transparent and clear. I think she gets it right for Mozart. Balance between orchestra and soloist is realistic - i.e. the violin blends in a fair bit rather than blaring out at triple volume. Some people will wish they could hear the solo instrument louder. But this recording presents the balance it how it would be live.
This goes straight to the top of my list for these wonderful concertos.
on 18 September 2003
I got mixed feelings with this recording: on the good side, you can find here a more-than-decent version of all Mozart violin concertos (plus some related stuff) by an orchestra (the OAE) which is in really good shape: great, balanced but powerful sound. The strings are crisp and lively yet quite smooth and both the woodwinds and the brass section blend beautifully. As for Huggett, she provides a very interesting articulation, both subtle and complex. She focuses a lot in the little details which I miss in non-period performance versions.
On the bad side, Monica Huggett has spoiled quite a bit the whole project by excessive vibrato and tone-swelling. At some points it gets quite mannered and pedantic. Really a pity, as in many aspects this could be "the recording" of Mozart's concertos.
on 23 April 2010
Period performance of Mozart concerti. The recording would probably be best compared with it Andrew Manze + AAM.
There is splendid orchestral playing by OAE: strong, clear, contrasted and well balanced. The sound of the solo violin is a bit weak at first hearing, but you will find the playing character really fascinating as it plays on. The sound is clear and beautiful. Contrast between passages, such as the colouring of dark and bright harmony or assured phrasings are wonderfully displayed, and they unfold a huge expressive power. The amount of vibrato is very nice and it goes naturally with expression. Her instrument lacks strength for certain passages but it is compensated by well punctuated accents and emphasises. Tempo is fast but it never sounds as brisk, for the tender voice of her violin and somewhat relaxed approach. I think Huggett has worked through and understood all the details, but it never appears to be obvious because she plays fascinatingly in a way simple and natural, at the same time seeming creative and improvisatory all the time.
A special remark goes to the interpretation of dance like sections in some of the Rondos. It is really danceable and so delightful. This is truely great.
It's nice and cheap to buy. But the booklet information gives nothing special and quite disappointing; not mentioning anything about the original instrumentation, which must have been the issue upon this recording, nor the name of Huggett's violin or bow, nor any discussion on the new interpretation. It counterbalances to the quality of performance on the CD.