Nicholas Ward’s stylish Mozart series here offers six symphonies written in 1772. The orchestral string-phrasing is particularly elegant in slow movements (notably the wistful Andante of No. 15 in G and the charming melody which forms the centerpiece of No. 17), while the lively first movement of No. 18 in F effervesces neatly. Elsewhere Allegros are alert and strong. Excellent, full and well-balanced recording, though not ideally sharply detailed. No. 19 is scored for four horns, two in E flat alt, and they give added weight and character to the orchestral texture in outer movements. No. 20 is given extra brightness by a pair of trumpets. But it is the delectable Andante that catches the ear with its charming flute solo over muted violins. Mozart contributed just the rather grand opening Adagio maestoso to the symphony once mistakenly regarded as his No. 37. It is played most persuasively: this disc is well worth having on all counts.
Ward and the Northern Chamber Orchestra give a robust performance of the outer movements of the E flat Symphony, phrase the graceful Andante with taste, and contrast the minuet's different characters effectively.
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