Notes and Editorial Reviews
...[Böhm] may be an octogenarian, but he directs the opera for the most part with a spirit and an urgency that many a young man might envy. Most of the accompanied recitatives are alert and fiery, and in this particular work they carry a great deal of the emotional weight. Here and there I find myself at odds with a choice of tempo. Especially in the closing scenes, some of the orchestral recitative seems to need to go more slowly; it is inclined to lack the proper sense of momentousness. I was a little surprised too at the quickish tempo for the opening aria and, most of all, for the great quartet in Act III, which has more turbulence and urgency than usual, particularly with its sharply contoured dynamics and its incisive accents. Of
the choruses ending Act II, "Placido è il mar" is very slow and sticky, indeed positively becalmed (Dr Bain should remember that in ancient times an excessively calm sea did not portend a prosperous voyage— there could be no voyage at all!); the subsequent "Qual nuovo terrore", however, has tremendous power and drama, with superb choral singing and brilliant playing from the fine Dresden violins. And of course BOhm brings true grandeur and a sense of tragic inevitability to the noble music of the Temple Scene; "O voto tremendo" in particular is duly slow and weighty. All praise to him—and to the engineers—for the exceptional clarity of texture in these scenes; Mozart's orchestral writing is often unusually complex, and here every strand of it can be heard without any feeling of unnatural perspectives.
If we are to have a tenor Idamantes, there could scarcely be a better one than Peter Schreier. In the Schmidt-Isserstedt recording, he was absurdly underparted as Arbaces; and though he may not quite sound the ardent young lover, he is as eloquent as one could ask for in his arias and in the ensembles, where his sweet high tones ring through beautifully. For control, smoothness of tone and phrasing, accuracy of intonation and management of nuance I can think of no tenor comparable with him in Mozart. His three arias here (two in Act I and the roneld, "Non temer, amato bene"—"No, la morte" in Act III is omitted following Mozart's own cut) give consistent pleasure. His Italian is slightly Germanicsounding, but that scarcely detracts.
-- Gramophone [2/1979]
reviewing the original LP release
Works on This Recording
Idomeneo, K 366 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wieslaw Ochman (Voice),
Edith Mathis (Voice),
Julia Varády (Voice),
Peter Schreier (Voice)
Leipzig Radio Chorus
Written: 1781; Munich, Germany
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