WAM at 250
Mozart composed 41 Symphonies if one follows the conventional classical wisdom. His final Symphony, dubbed The Jupiter Symphony was composed in a six week period during the Summer of 1788, a summer that also produced Symphonies No. 39 in in E flat, K. 543 and No. 40 in G minor, K. 550, just prior to the publication of The Jupiter. The composer was in his cups: bankrupt and in debt a situation exacerbated by the recent death of his newborn daughter. From this maelstrom of stress arose a revolutionary work destined to foreshadow that revolutionary from Bonn, Beethoven. Critics have long lauded The Jupiter as the summation of symphonic music up to that point. Central to the symphony is the work's final movement where Mozart takes on the titan Bach and produces a five-part counterpoint rivaling the High Baroque Master.
Amid the dust and debris of period instrument performances remains the sublime readings of Sir Neville Marriner and his Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. This suggested recording is a small box containing the Master's final five symphonic works. Sure one could buy the 40th and 41st by Marriner with no problem, but this is a budget set that is too good to pass up. And the performances? The performances are warm and well paced with brisk tempi. Marriner's Mozart possesses a timeless quality about it. As Thomas Cahill says of Luke's Jesus, it is this face that billions expect to see when dying, so Marriner's Mozart is what we hear when recalling a Mozart composition from our subconscious.
Symphony No 40, K550 - Symphony No 41, Jupiter, K551, The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock, Archiv Produktion 447 048-2AH
Mozart Opera Arias
Soprano Opera Arias
Sandrine Piau, Freiburger Barockorchestrer, Gottfried von der Goltz
Naive 8877, 2004
I selected this recent collection of opera arias for soprano voice by French singer Sandrine Piau based completely on her previous release on Handel bel canto arias, GF Haendel: Opera Seria, (Naive 8894, 2004). Of a spate of Handel opera aria releases since 2000, Opera Seria is perfect in all elements: repertoire, accompaniment, and voice - above all, voice. That is why I eagerly awaited the release of Miss Piau's collection of Mozart soprano opera arias. That wait supports the value of delayed gratification as the soprano easily equaled her Handel collection in all respects. Miss Piau's singing is characterized by a ravishing, intelligent, virtuosity. Her voice is petite, sharply focused, and perfectly centered with impressive balance over her entire vocal range. Miss Piau's control and articulation is solid and centered. Her orchestral accompaniment is thoughtfully historically informed, with perfect sonics.
Gramophone recommendation: Not only is there is no Gramophone recommendation for collections of Mozart's Soprano Opera Arias, there is not even a Gramophone category. This is where the writer's prerogative comes in. So, I put forth Barbara Bonney's collection, Mozart Leider, Barbara Bonney, soprano Goeffrey Parsons, piano, Teldec 46334, 1992. This is not a collection of soprano opera arias but of Mozart's art songs. I ask the fussy readers to forgive my license.
The cliche claims from your lips to God's ear. In the case of this composer, it is from God's lips to Amade's ear. Happy Birthday, Wolfgang.
"Mozart: Reloaded": A Jazz and Classical Multimedia "Salon"