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Mozart: Symphonies 31, 39, 40 / Barenboim, English Chamber Orchestra


Release Date: 12/29/2009 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 67011  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

I don't think anyone could deny the insights and interpretative mastery of these performances, whatever his views about style, for they are absolutely compelling; nor could anyone deny Barenboim's mastery over the orchestra nor, for that matter, the English Chamber Orchestra's superlative quality. This is remarkable Mozart playing.

One asset is that of having a properly balanced Mozart orchestra, so that we not only hear wind solos (without apparent special aid) but so that the wind as a whole, even in mere harmonic backing, adequately supports the strings and takes its proper place in the total sound. And while I'm talking about balance, how good to have an easily audible bass line, especially as Barenboim cares for it as
Read more much as he does for every other strand in the texture. (There are, for example, some bass pizzicatos in the first movement of the Paris that are a delight in themselves.) Full marks, then, to the orchestra itself, to Barenboim for encouraging it to such playing, and to the recording people for having captured it so splendidly.

The first movement of the Paris sets the standard at once, capturing each swiftly changing mood of the music, from the elegant to the gorgeously passionate and dark. The Andantino is as good—and how rewarding to hear those instruments so often overlooked, the violas, properly cared for, so that characteristic changes from major to minor contained in the middle of the texture are as telling as they should be, though seldom are....

[I]nterpretation of a very high order. No praise can be too great for the ECO's response and altogether this is a full-price record that I think worth every penny of the price asked.

-- Gramophone [9/1969, reviewing the original release of Symphony No 31]

These are exceptionally lively performances; alertly phrased, and often with positively bouncing rhythm, executed at all times with very great skill. The orchestral balance is nearly always ideal, the number of string players probably tallying not so much with Mozart's own (he had rather louder wind-players, man for man, to contend with), as with the ideal number to let through today's wind soloists, as Mozart's score obviously intended.... [T]he performances do certainly remain totally compulsive in quality.

-- Gramophone [10/1986, reviewing a previous reissue of Symphony No 39]

These were highly regarded versions when they were first issued, notable for the warmth of the playing in slow movements, with imaginative phrasing from strings and woodwind alike. Tempos are apt and the performances, using a relatively small band of players (but modern instruments, of course), are stylish as well as elegant. There is plenty of spirit too (the Minuets are particularly successful) and the special character of the first movement of the G minor comes over appealingly.... The analogue recordings have been effectively remastered; the sound has good projection and detail and the extra clarity has not resulted in the strings sounding too thin.

-- Gramophone [1/1989, reviewing a previous reissue of Symphony No 40]
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 31 in D major, K 297 (300a) "Paris" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Written: 1778 
2. Symphony no 39 in E flat major, K 543 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
3. Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 

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