Mozart: Symphonies, Vol. 3
21 December 2011
James ManheimThis disc is part of a series by Hungarian-born conductor Adam Fischer and the Danish National Chamber Orchestra
, traversing the complete Mozart symphonies. That term lands in the middle ground between generally known 41 Mozart symphonies and the approach that includes small-orchestral works such as divertimenti as well as any symphony that might possibly be by Mozart. On this recording of works from Mozart’s early teens Fischer is covering territory where there are several cases of disputed authorship; the Symphony in D major, K. 81, may as easily be by Leopold Mozart as by Wolfgang, and according to Jeffrey Zaslaw, on whom the performers claim to rely, the authenticity of the Symphony in D major, K. 95, “has never been seriously enough questioned.” The booklet does not address these questions or even address the music at all; it’s largely given over to an essay about the Viennese symphonic style (and at this time Vienna was hardly a gleam in Mozart’s eye). All this said, the performances are enjoyable for those interested in the question of how genius takes shape.
This was perhaps the period when Mozart was most clearly defining his models: his father on one hand, and the Italian symphonists on the other. Whoever wrote these works, it’s fascinating to pick out the stylistic strands and see where Mozart clearly picked them up, and what happened when he did. The performances fall into the class of those done on modern instruments but heavily influenced by historical-instrument recordings: the fast movement are fast and vigorous indeed, with brasses and winds allowed to show through the texture and forced to squawk a bit because of the speed. Fischer connects these symphonies with Austrian traditions of outdoor music such as the Feldparthie (field partita) as well as with Italian styles, and his performances, whirlwind-like in the fast passages but in general a bit dry, are clear and engaging. Recommended for followers of Mozart symphony cycles; Fischer and these Danes offer a fresh perspective.