Notes and Editorial Reviews
These effectively paced, stylish performances were recorded live and in excellent stereo in 1989. The symphonies are especially appealing. Leitner, who died in 1996 at the age of 84, was a distinguished conductor of the classical repertoire, comfortable in opera as well. He was Fritz Busch?s assistant in Glyndebourne in the 1930s. He conducted the
cycle as well as Mozart, and seems to have been Wilhelm Kempff?s favorite conductor: their many recordings of Mozart concertos especially, but also of Beethoven, are uniformly distinguished. There?s something hearty and sensible about Leitner. His tempos in the
Mozart found here are leisurely, the orchestral sound plump and relaxed. Everything is shaped gracefully in these unpressured performances, even the zippy Allegretto with which the Symphony in C ends.
Leitner conducts a fine cast in
. I should immediately confess that this is a work whose point I don?t get. Mozart?s dramas, even those in his orchestral works, are drawn with such a sure hand that I hesitate to go on. Yet this elaborate joke seems never to take off, or to come to any satisfying conclusion. He parodies two styles of singing and two equally vain singers, one who is vain about her adagios and the other of her allegros. Suddenly, Mademoiselle Silberklang gets the insight that both she and Madame Herz are examples of artistic temperaments, which?striving for glory or honor (
strebt nach Ehre)?
are by nature competitive
Monsieur Vogelsang enters to praise the whole, rather than the parts, and harmony. After they seem to decide that Art and Nature must both be held in esteem, the
enters and says that he?s the best of all, because he can?t sing at all.
There is lovely music here, beginning with the overture. Madame Herz?s initial aria (her adagio!) wouldn?t be out of place in
The Magic Flute.
Did Mozart have individuals in mind when he wrote this little singspiel? Would I find it more amusing if I knew more about the conditions in the theaters of his time? I am not denying the possibility. Perhaps the backstage drama doesn?t sufficiently interest me. (I also have never been amused by Moliere?s playlet defending his
L?ecole des femmes.)
That said, this performance is as good as any I know. The disc comes without a libretto, so I suppose this performance could not be anybody?s first choice. (Böhm?s 1974 recording might be.) It is nonetheless easy to recommend this inexpensive disc, especially for its symphonies.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
Works on This Recording
Der Schauspieldirektor, K 486 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Deon Van der Walt (Tenor),
Barbara Kilduff (Soprano),
Edith Wiens (Soprano),
Gwynne Howell (Bass)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria
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