Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a really fine set of Mozart symphonies, performed in the period style but without a trace of the doctrinaire attitude of so many "authentic" undertakings. John Nelson spent his 10 years with the Ensemble Orchestra de Paris focusing primarily on the music of Mozart (as well as Beethoven), and that concentration has paid off handsomely. He's captured the essence of the composer's style and instilled it in his players, from the gorgeous winds to the pointed brass. Even the smallish string body sounds rightly proportioned (although its notable lack of vibrato may bother listeners used to more hefty string tone).
There's palpable joy in the performances, most certainly in
the Jupiter symphony, which abounds with sparkling energy. But the same can be found in Symphony No. 39 and, in a nicely dark and stirring rendition, No. 40. So consistent is Nelson's approach that even the earlier, brief "Paris" symphony sounds as if it belongs with the later group. However, "brief" is not a term that describes the performances, as Nelson observes both first and second-half repeats. Yet so beguiling is the ensemble's sound (enhanced by the vivid, atmospheric, bass-rich recording) and the vitality of the playing that you really don't mind at all. Although they aren't likely to find favor with modern-orchestra traditionalists, these performances should encourage listeners who doubt Mozart's appeal to reconsider. Delightful!
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Paris Orchestral Ensemble
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria
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