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David Threasher
Gramophone, December 2009

Melodic symphonies by the teenage Mozart are a cut above the average

Mozart’s “Little” G minor Symphony is the most famous of a string of dramatic symphonies in that key written by a number of composers in the aftermath of Haydn’s Symphony No 39, all containing four rather than the usual two horns. This was the first flash of the Sturm und Drang bug, which swept Europe as far as Spain and England from the mid-1760s until the early 1770s. The teenage Mozart’s offering shows him gleefully flexing his compositional muscles in this new style, in the process creating his first minor symphonic masterpiece. Adam Fischer and his Danish players are alert to the myriad expressive devices of the work, turning in a performance that is sharply contoured and flexible of tempo; wind-playing is especially fine, with those horns braying magnificently in the generous acoustic.

Needless to say, the other works on this disc (Vol 7; I’ve not heard any of the others), dating from around the same time, are not as striking as the G minor. For the most part they are in the busy Neapolitan style favoured in Salzburg at the time, which Mozart would have heard on his travels and known from the music of Michael Haydn et al. At this point, unlike the elder Haydn out in the Hungarian swamplands, Mozart did not “have to become original”.

Nevertheless, out of what may at first glance seem little more than strings of galant sound effects, Mozart’s melodic urge irresistibly emerges and there are enough memorable moments to lift even these juvenile works above the run-of-the-mill symphonic effusions of many of his older and lesser contemporaries. Despite Fischer’s occasional eccentricities (the col legno in the finale of K183, for example) the Danish National Chamber Orchestra’s slightly larger forces make a better case for this music than the somewhat apologetic offerings of certain small-scale period-instrument bands.



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2009

Within the year 1773, and at the age of seventeen, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed five symphonies that began in April in the style of early Haydn, and ended in October with the work that was his first symphonic masterpiece. Played in order of composition, the twenty-seventh comes first, and as the disc progresses you can literally feel the change that was quickly coming over the young composer. The bold, but still imitative earlier works, eventually giving way to the highly charged outpouring of the Twenty-fifth symphony with its transition to a four-movement format.The disc forms part of an ongoing Mozart symphony cycle from the Hungarian-born, Adam Fischer, his conducting seeking out the inner details that are often passed over, and coupled with a fastidious approach to dynamics. He takes an unhurried view that looks toward the good-humoured aspects of the music, but in Twenty-fifth moves up a gear in an opening movement played with drive and passion. I like his firm rhythmic grasp on the music, the finale to that work resplendent with its brazen horns. Would I prefer this to the delightful performances on Naxos from the lightweight Northern Chamber Orchestra? It is certainly a difficult choice, the UK orchestra, directed from the leader’s desk, having a youthful spring, spontaneity and vivacity in their performances that I love. By comparison the much larger Danish orchestra pack the greater weight, while both are captured in excellent sound.






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8:52:09 AM, 28 December 2014
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