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CD Review

Wolfgang Mozart

Testament 1305

Late Symphonies

  • Symphony #36 in C Major K. 425 'Linz'
  • Symphony #38 in D Major, K. 504 'Prague'
  • Symphony #39 in E Flat Major, K. 543
Gürzenich Orchester Köln/Günter Wand
Testament SBT1305 77m ADD
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I had been recently listening to these symphonies in recordings by Sir Thomas Beecham and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra so their comparison with Wand's meticulously crafted performances was quite instructive.

This first disc was recorded in 1961 and includes the 'Linz', 'Prague' and the unnamed #39, probably the greatest of all Mozart's symphonies. In each performance, Wand shows an innate and characteristic understanding of the music with unforced speeds and breathlessly clear ensemble balancing woodwind and strings quite beautifully.

The 'Linz' is very successful with a lovely Finale that enables one to appreciate Mozart's delicate scoring whilst #39 is similarly ebullient, rather similar to Klemperer's recording of the work in 1955, also on Testament. The "Prague' is also excellently played and Wand's clear direction is never in doubt especially the expansive first movement.

Lovers of fine, vintage yet strangely modern performances of Mozart symphonies could do much worse than examine these lovely performances by a master of the baton.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech

Trumpet