W.A. Mozart: 45 Symphonies
02 December 2016
Jens F. Laurson
I would suggest starting even a little earlier than K.110, just to check in on Johnson. That’s best done with Adam Fischer’s very easily overlooked and marvelous CDs (i.e. “Complete Symphonies, volume 2
”, which contains Nos.6, 7, 7a “Old Lambach”, 8 and “No.55” (K.43, 45, 45a, 48 & 45b ) of middle-early Mozart Symphonies, youthful vigor and crisp lightness of which is the main feature—not just Mozart’s but especially Fischer’s interpretations. Volume 8 is another gem, opening with a very lively rendition of K.201 that will invite you to dance along, all the way (jokes or not), at the price of a little—but not much—elegance. Next to Fischer, even Hogwood and Marriner sound awfully well-mannered. Volume 6 is very good (if perhaps not quite gelling as amazingly as those that were recorded late; the numbers of the volumes incidentally not connoting chronology of recording) and convenient for offering K.132 and 134. Comparing Fischer in K.110 to single-disc alternatives like Nicholas Ward (Naxos) and Roger Norrington (Hänssler) shows his account to have more nuanced phrasing, to be rhythmically more compelling, and decidedly more lively (perhaps just a touch fast in the finale)… so if you are interested in that symphony outside a complete box, Dacapo’s Volume 4 of the Mozart Symphonies
is the way to go. I shy away from recommending box sets, for many reasons (less concentrated listening and less focused enjoyment; also less necessary in an age of streaming and often less specific in their qualities, for their convenient catch-all nature. Although at this point, you might as well consider their whole set
all the same, which is the best modern set I know.