Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphonies Vol. 1 & Vol. 10
01 November 2013
Rob CowanTwo latest discs in Fischer's Danish Radio Mozart symphony series
Interesting that at the start of the eight-yearold Mozart's First Symphony's opening Molto allegro, the marking for the first two chords is a secure forte, then the dynamic drops to piano for the slow chords in the fourth bar. Adam Fischer uses those intervening bars to build a dramatic crescendo, which certainly has an effect. In fact the whole of the first movement is greeted with a level of dynamic incident that lends the music an extra degree of impetus.
Fischer appreciates the importance of a secure bass-line, notably in the Andante of K19, whereas in the fierily driven finale he employs saucy, fast-action string slides. The Andante of K19a enjoys a winning lilt and the opening of K22 has a definite 'Mannheim' feel to it. K42a is the only work programmed on this first disc that is cast in four rather than three movements, the finale featuring the sort of animated dialoguing that was to form such a key part of Mozart's mature symphonic style. Fischer and his enthusiastic Danish players imbue this youthful music with spirit and energy; they make the most of what's in front of them and I have certainly never heard performances of early Mozart symphonies that I prefer.
The coupling of the Haffner and Prague symphonies of course ups the artistic stakes a thousandfold and here Fischer takes on a wealth of memorable competition. For the opening of the Haffner there's a stern call to arms, followed by a brief easing of tempo, then a bristly transition to the busy main exposition. No repeats here, of course (none are marked), though with playing as vivid as this you hardly need them. Just try the finale's limpid opening and the 'shock-tactic' timpani-dominated onslaught that follows. Exciting isn't the word. Timps play an even more crucial role at the start of the first movement and midway through the finale of the Prague Symphony, and Fischer makes a beeline for their ceremonial presence. There's some very sensitive phrasing in the first and second movements, even though the Andante is kept very much on the move. You're given a full roster of repeats and, as with Vol 1, the SACD sound is well balanced and admirably transparent.
I haven't heard the other volumes issued but I'll be keeping an eye out for them. Bohm (DG), Harnoncourt (Warner) and Levine (DG) now have a keen rival. Fischer is edging in alongside them.