Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart

Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart

Article excerpt

Mozart Violin Concertos--No 1, K207; No 2, K211; No 3, K216; No 4, K218; No 5, K219. Adagio, K261. Rondos--K269; K373 Isabelle Faust vn II Giardino Armonico / Giovanni Antonini Harmonia Mundi (M) (2) HMC90 2230/31 (129' * DDD)

Mozart's violin concertos are never far from the centre of any violinist's repertoire. Written while the composer was still a teenager, they can hardly be considered among his deepest music (the string concerto masterpiece is, of course, the magnificent Sinfonia concenante of 1779-80), yet they maintain all the galant charm and suavity of the period as we hear the boy coming of age, experimenting with forms and growing more harmonically daring and melodically assured.

For Isabelle Faust's recording of the five concertos, she teams up for the first time with the period instruments of II Giardino Armonico. Giovanni Antonini is the nominal conductor but these wonderful performances have the air of chamber music, of close listening between soloist, band and director. Faust isn't spotlit in the remarkably clear engineering but seems part of the ensemble, her sound growing out of the corporate entity to glitter, coax, snarl and soar as required. She has always struck me as a player who cannot help but look beyond the notes, examining each phrase and paragraph to wring out of them more than simply phrases and paragraphs. She varies her ornamentation delightfully and, as an added treat, plays cadenzas and lead-ins specially written by the keyboard player Andreas Staier, who knows a thing or two about 18th-century style. …

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