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Mozart - The Complete Violin Concertos / Kremer, Kremerata Baltica


Release Date: 07/21/2009 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 512789   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MOZART 5 Violin Concertos Gidon Kremer (vn, cond); Kremerata Baltica NONESUCH 512789 (2 CDs: 110:59) Live: Salzburg 8/11/2006


In the booklet to Nonesuch’s release of Mozart’s five unassailably genuine violin concertos, played live by Gidon Kremer in Salzburg, the violinist thanks Nikolaus Harnoncourt (and the Vienna Philharmonic), whom he credits with giving him the chance “to look at Mozart without prejudices.” His approach to the works, if not slavishly avoiding the modern, also doesn’t slavishly adhere to Read more doctrine. Kremer has performed these works with Harnoncourt and the Vienna Philhamonic, captured on video and released on DVD (Deutsche Grammophon B0006495-09), and listeners now have an opportunity to acquire these later live performances (all given, incidentally, on the same day) on CD.


In the First Concerto, Kremer leads his eponymous ensemble in a detailed yet vigorous performance of the first movement, which the engineers present in clear and similarly detailed recorded sound, the violinist situated slightly forward. Kremer himself crisply articulates Mozart’s passagework. As throughout, he adds the cadenzas that he had, according to the booklet, asked Robert Levin to write for him several decades ago. They sound appropriate and, in Kremer’s readings, rather brilliant. The ensemble surges underneath his insinuating subtlety in the Adagio. If this isn’t Isaac Stern’s chunky energy, it’s still more vibrant, if less elegant, than the smooth (yet hardly bland) manner of Arthur Grumiaux and, more recently, Anne-Sophie Mutter—and considerably more personal. He doesn’t take the last movement at a headlong tempo, yet his lightweight passagework maintains a lively buoyancy.


The Second Concerto, less sparkling but correspondingly more suave (it’s been referred to as having been composed in the French manner), may require some adjustment after the rollicking First; Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica generate an elegance that doesn’t preclude rough-hewn élan, nor nearly obstreperous interjections. Kremer connects the first movement’s figuration with patterns that might be found in concertos by Giovanni Battista Viotti, with which Mozart had made an acquaintance (having written trumpet and timpani parts for the composer’s 16th. Kremer brings subtle sensitivity to the Andante, and also to the Rondeau finale, though he spices the finale’s episodes with a nard that preserves the refined melodies from any danger of wilting.


The Third Concerto, the first of the three that have retained their places in the repertoire, opens with an effervescently bouncing tutti that foreshadows Kremer’s violin solo. Slight—and sudden—dynamic eruptions should help to hold the attention of listeners who know these concertos almost too well. In the slow movement, Kremer’s flinty graces and sudden accentuations, however unexpected, never sound out of place, suggesting here and there a new way for the melody to turn. Kremer similarly repoints the finale with slight pauses, increasing its energy without increasing its tempo.


The ensemble struts smartly in the military opening of the Fourth Concerto, and Kremer enters with aplomb, though he sounds silken in the second theme as he did brilliant in the first. His preternaturally clean articulation throughout the movement never degenerates into the fussy or the eccentric. The ensemble introduces sudden dynamic gesticulations into the second movement’s flowing theme, which Kremer emulates upon his entrance—hardly reserving all the pungency for the second theme. He also imparts a quirky rhythmic character to the Rondeau’s first theme and takes other passages throughout, as in one of the transitions back to the principal idea, so playfully as to make them sound as though he’d composed them on the spot.


Even in the opening tutti of the Fifth Concerto, Kremer introduces novel ideas, such as slowing down very slightly for one of the subsidiary ideas, slyly prefiguring the slow entrance in which Mozart temporarily stalls his soloist. Kremer adopts a bustling tempo in the main Allegro, though he slows down again for the repeated-note motive, throwing a spotlight on it, as he and the orchestra have done—and will do—throughout the movement. And as in the slow movement of the Fourth Concerto, he allows the orchestra to punctuate the Fifth Concerto’s Adagio with exclamation marks—which he adopts from them in his solos. But the middle section of the movement sings with uncommon urgency. Those who agree with the Salzburg violinist who requested that Mozart replace this movement (the Adagio in E Major may have been its substitute) might wish to listen to Kremer’s performance. His exoticism in the finale’s Turkish episodes generates colorful, high-voltage excitement, demonstrating that these concertos, and this one in particular, may be frequently played but hardly exhausted.


Many period-instrument performances of Vivaldi’s concertos, as irresistibly original as they may sound upon first hearing, wander (or dash) arguably too far off the beaten path to bear years of repeated listening. Kremer’s readings of Mozart’s concertos, intended by the almost 60-year-old but largely unmellowed violinist ostensibly for his audience on a particular August day in 2006 in Salzburg, may be, at times, deeply personal, but their brisk energy and bristling insights should wear well on other days as well. Kremer’s admirers should find these spirited performances obligatory; general collectors of the violin repertoire should as well. But they might also provide a thoughtful introduction to the works, on modern instruments, for initial explorers. Very strongly recommended to those who don’t consider expression of personality antithetical to Mozart’s Classicism.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 1 in B flat major, K 207 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 19 Minutes 14 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Violin no 2 in D major, K 211 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 19 Minutes 2 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Violin no 3 in G major, K 216 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 22 Minutes 26 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Violin no 4 in D major, K 218 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775 
Length: 21 Minutes 22 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Violin no 5 in A major, K 219 "Turkish" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Written: 1775 
Length: 27 Minutes 27 Secs. 
6.
Concerto for Violin no 4 in D major, K 218: 1st movement, Allegro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 8 Minutes 3 Secs. 
7.
Concerto for Violin no 4 in D major, K 218: 2nd movement, Andante cantabile by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 41 Secs. 
8.
Concerto for Violin no 4 in D major, K 218: 3rd movement, Rondeau by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 7 Minutes 38 Secs. 
9.
Concerto for Violin no 5 in A major, K 219 "Turkish": 1st movement, Allegro aperto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 9 Minutes 11 Secs. 
10.
Concerto for Violin no 5 in A major, K 219 "Turkish": 2nd movement, Adagio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 9 Minutes 43 Secs. 
11.
Concerto for Violin no 5 in A major, K 219 "Turkish": 3rd movement, Rondeau by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kremerata Baltica
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 8 Minutes 33 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Violin Concerto no 5: I. Allegro aperto

Sound Samples

Violin Concerto, K207: Allegro moderato
Violin Concerto, K207: Adagio
Violin Concerto, K207: Presto
Violin Concerto, K211: Allegro moderato
Violin Concerto, K211: Andante
Violin Concerto, K211: Rondeau Allegro
Violin Concerto, K216: Allegro
Violin Concerto, K216: Adagio
Violin Concerto, K216: Rondeau Allegro
Violin Concerto, K218: Allegro
Violin Concerto, K218: Andante cantabile
Violin Concerto, K218: Rondeau Andante graz.
Violin Concerto, K219: Allegro aperto
Violin Concerto, K219: Adagio
Violin Concerto, K219: Rondeau Tempo di Men.

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