Classical Discs

Sure enough, record companies are taking advantage of Mozart's 250's birthday, which is being celebrated this year with a myriad of recordings and concerts.

By OMER SHOMRONY
January 26, 2006 07:51
1 minute read.
mozart disk 88 298

mozart disk 88 298. (photo credit: )

 
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Mozart: Requiem and the C-Minor Mass Conductor: John- Eliot Gardiner (DVD Phillips) Sure enough, record companies are taking advantage of Mozart's 250's birthday, which is being celebrated this year with a myriad of recordings and concerts. Several new Mozart recordings have been issued and some older ones reissued. For Mozart lovers, some of these warrant close attention. This beautiful DVD, for example, ranks among the most recommended. It presents two of Mozart's most venerated vocal pieces, the Requiem and the imposing C Minor Mass. Both are marvelously sung under the graceful direction of British conductor John-Eliot Gardiner, leading his regular, superb ensembles (the Monteverdi choir and the English Baroque Soloists). Employing period instruments and historically informed performance practices, Gardiner and his groups produce crisp, polished sounds, and manage to keep the tension throughout the entire concert. Filmed at the impressive Palau de la Musica in Barcelona in 1991, this production, now reissued in DVD format, replaces the old VHS tapes. Offering great music, wonderful performance, and a beautiful venue, it is not to be missed. Mozart: Complete Sacred Music Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt 13 CDs pack (Warner Classics) Catering for collectors and vocal music aficionados, this 13-CD pack offers the complete oeuvre of Mozart's sacred music. It contains the Requiem as well as masses, vespers, litanies, motets, and a whole array of other pieces composed throughout Mozart's lifetime. The different performances feature a long list of soloists and choirs, but the conductor is the same in all 13 discs: Austrian Nikolaus Harnoncourt, one of the forefathers of the "Authentic" movement. A prominent Mozart specialist, Harnoncourt offers brilliant, up-to-date interpretations, featuring his "Concentus Musicus Wien" ensemble and a long array of top-rate soloists. The compilation was made of relatively new recordings, which accounts for their high quality. The pack is especially attractive for collectors, as it offers historically-informed readings to many neglected works rarely performed in concert halls (and, Israel's case, never performed in concert halls). Did you know that Mozart composed a "Miserere," a "Te Deum," 4 litanies, 17 masses, and a piece titled "Grave Music"? They are all here, among dozens of other sacred works. If you are not a collector, however, do note that not all the works presented here are masterpieces; some are not even close.

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