Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart: Symphonies-No 39

Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart: Symphonies-No 39

Article excerpt

Mozart

Symphonies--No 39, K543; No 40, K550; No 41, 'Jupiter', K551

Champs-Elysees Orchestra / Philippe Herreweghe

PHI (M) (2) LPH011 (98' * DDD)

Herreweghe's orchestra with the last three symphonies

Strings--violins separated--are a trifle slender, woodwind too suave for instruments of the period. Timpani are intermittently commanding, not as emphatic as they ought to be in the introduction to No 39, and are for Thomas Fey or Charles Mackerras. No questioning, though, the accomplishment of the Orchestre des Champs-Elysees. And Philippe Herreweghe is genuinely honest in his duty of care to Mozart. Yet inhibitions abound.

Stay with No 39 and the soft single notes, widely spaced, that end the introduction lose some mystery as daylight seeps in. Contrasts are muted in the Allegro and the radiance of clarinets doesn't suffuse the music. Nor do trumpets cut a distinctive path. Turn to Fey for drama aplenty; and for perhaps an apoplectic reaction to his view of the first subject. But also consider the stateliness he conveys in the Minuet, with a strong hint of a lift on the second beat, the second clarinet more than a mere accompanist in the Trio. …

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