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Customer Review

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating Mozart, 22 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Mozart: The Violin Concertos; Sinfonia Concertante (Audio CD)
This is an utterly engaging account of Mozart's Violin Concertos and Sinfonia Concertante.

The care with which Abbado and Carmignola have approached this project is everywhere in evidence. Carmignola's love and respect for these concertos is apparent in the way he speaks about them in the liner notes. He has lived with these pieces for many years; consequently there is a maturity to his interpretation, yet, coupled with the ever-youthful Abbado, there remains a freshness and spontaneity. His tone is warm and clean, with a considered approach to vibrato. Franco Gulli's (one of Carmignola's teachers) cadenzas, used in most of the concertos, are pleasingly restrained and seem so naturally matched to the music that one would assume they were Mozart's own.

The orchestral accompaniments have been criticised in another review. I can't understand why. The articulation, by turns staccato and legato, comes straight from the score and is woven into a perfectly balanced whole by Abbado, whose Orchestra Mozart is exceptionally responsive as the accompanying partner. The result is beautiful phrases; the orchestra never plays just notes, as some do, but always phrases. This is what music should sound like! The recording is superbly balanced and richly detailed. For another example of just how good music can sound, I suggest Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 29, 33, 35 "Haffner", 38 "Prague", 41 "Jupiter" - further evidence of Abbado's commitment to Mozart, and another showcase for his newest orchestra.

The other thing to mention is speed. With earlier music and period instrument recordings, speed is so often referred to as if there were a metronome marking on the score, or a speed had been determined by a past performance. Neither is true of course; with no metronome, Mozart made his tempo suggestions by way of descriptive terms which have no absolute interpretation. The fact that here the tempos chosen are faster than some other recordings is only a passing observation, not a point in itself. The real question is: does the tempo feel right for the music? The answer here is surely yes. The whole is beautifully poised; nowhere have I wished for more time, or found the line of the music to be hindered by tempo. The faster passages sparkle and the slower ones have an incredible warmth whilst maintaining a clear direction (Waskiewicz is here to be commended for her part in the Sinfonia Concertante, very much an equal partner). Abbado and Carmignola present a highly unified, personal and, for me, totally convincing musical argument.

There are many highlights, but the Rondo of the 5th Concerto 'Turkish', and the Andante of the Sinfonia Concertante stand out particularly for their wit and warmth, respectively.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Nov 2014 17:29:56 GMT
A. C. says:
I recently listened to samples from multiple recordings of Mozart VCs. While this one seemed to be performed quite well I did not purchase it because, as expected with Carmignola, there is very obvious and unpleasant breathing sound particularly in the slower movements. I note no reviewer has alluded to this presumably because they are not hearing it or don't mind it. Every Carmignola recording I have heard was similarly afflicted. Other regular sniffing offenders include Biondi, Kavakos and even Podger. Fortunately there is at least one violinist whose recordings tend to be clean - Viktoria Mullova is the best example I know of. I also note that this was never a problem on the for example all the old English Concert / Pinnock / Archiv recordings and it seems to be more of an issue now than in the past. I have wondered whether some musicians or recording engineers think extraneous noise adds something to the listening experience! Surely there are some other listeners who find this spoils the enjoyment of otherwise excellent recordings?
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