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Mozart: Symphonies Nos 39, 40 & 41 / Harnoncourt, Vienna Concentus Musicus


Release Date: 09/02/2014 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 302635  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

After six decades of study and performance, Nikolaus Harnoncourt hears Mozart’s last three symphonies as one long work that he calls an “instrumental oratorium,” with related musical-rhetorical devices. The German-born conductor, now eighty-five, is justly revered as a deep thinker as well as performer, though one doesn’t have to fully buy into his theory to enjoy this double-disc recording, from Vienna’s acoustically resplendent Musikverein. Leading his longstanding period-instrument band Concentus Musicus Wien, Harnoncourt indeed produces what he calls a “psychological drama” with these works, alone or end-to-end. As is usual with this ensemble, textures are piquant, balance transparent and energy high, but there is also grandeur and Read more inevitability.

– Bradley Bambarger, Listen Magazine

On The Last Symphonies, Nikolaus Harnoncourt explores his fascinating new interpretation of the composer's last three symphonies; that they are one whole work which he calls Mozart's "Instrumental Oratorium." Harnoncourt argues that, in terms of structure, the first movement of Symphony No. 39 is the Prelude of the "Instrumental Oratorium," while the last movement of Symphony No. 41 is the Finale. He points out that Symphony No. 39 has no real ending, while Symphony No. 40 has no real beginning, and only Symphony No. 41 has a finale.

Harnoncourt points to a number of factors as further proof of his new interpretation - musical themes that are evident throughout all three symphonies, the fact that Mozart wrote these works without commission all in one summer, and that he didn't write any more symphonies in the last three years of his life - this was his last statement. The Last Symphonies: Mozart's Instrumental Oratorium was recorded for the first time with Harnoncourt's own ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien, which he founded in 1953. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 41 in C major, K 551 "Jupiter" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Symphony no 39 in E flat major, K 543 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 

Sound Samples

I. Adagio - Allegro
II. Andante con moto
III. Menuetto - Trio
IV. Allegro
I. Molto allegro
II. Andante
III. Menuetto. Allegretto - Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro assai
I. Allegro vivace
II. Andante cantabile
III. Menuetto. Allegretto - Trio
IV. Molto allegro
IV. Molto allegro

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Unique Mozart November 25, 2014 By JOHN A JOHNSON (LITTLE NECK, NY) See All My Reviews "The playing of the orchestra is oerfect. Harnoncourt has a theory abour these symphonies that is quite unusual. He feels that hey are one interconnected organic compostion. Unfortunately the time limitation of the cd prevents giving his theory in it's entirity. The 39th and 40th are joined together as per his theory. A fascinating cd set." Report Abuse
 An Instrumental Oratorium Superbly Performed October 6, 2014 By David Walker (Melbourne, Victoria) See All My Reviews "Nikolaus Harnoncourt's Instrumental Oratorium is a gift for Mozart fans. The music is superbly performed. The recording is top notch. I have listened to these discs a number of times and I still find interesting details that I did not notice before. I am surprised that there has not been more discussion about Harnoncourt's bold interpretation of a well known body of work. This recording is very convincing and the full dramatic range of the writing has been expressed beautifully." Report Abuse
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