W.A. Mozart: Symphonies vol. 7
01 February 2010
BBC Music Magazine
The earliest Mozart symphony that is at all regularly performed is No. 25, usually known as ‘the little G minor.' Part of the point of this first-rate CD is to show that, fine though that work is, it is not that much superior to the symphonies Mozart wrote on either side of it, when he was 17. And such is the electricity of Adam Fischer's conducting of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra that I am inclined, at least for now, to agree with Fischer.
In an indispensable note, Claus Johansen writes about the cult of the violent and undisciplined which was characteristic of movements in all the arts in the latter 18th century, and which Mozart, as a natural man of the theatre, warmed to as soon as he encountered it, with ‘quivering tremolos, stamping syncopations, rhetorical outbursts and great leaps in the melodies'. Listen to some performances and you'd feel that this was overdoing it, but Fischer clearly gets his orchestra to play with fierce intensity, so that works which usually seem accomplished but conventional take on a fresh complexion. Even so, the G minor, the only one with a minuet, and a grim one at that, stands out as a breakthrough in Mozart's rapid development at this time. But this is the first time I've heard its neighbours played in a way that makes me want to listen to them again. Michael Tanner