No timbral difference separates this midprice reissue of one of the best-loved concertos by Mozart from its previous, full-priced equivalent. There's a bit more ambience and warmth and less stridency on top. If you own the original CD, there's no need to replace it, but first-time buyers should snap up these sensitive, stylish performances in their Great Recordings of the Century guise. One of the main attractions is the extended compass and deliciously "woody" tone of Sabine Meyer's basset clarinet. The clarinetist's fleet, effortless dispatch of the Clarinet Concerto's outer movements is a delight to the ear, and her improvised (or so they seem!) flourishes fit into their environment as if Mozart had written them himself.
Some say it's violinist Andrew Manze's tone that makes him distinctive, that there's a sweetness to his non-vibrato swells and a strength to his flexible bowing that make his playing so attractive. Some say it's Manze's phrasing that makes him distinctive, that there's a lyrical quality to his line and a molded quality to his dynamics that make his playing so appealing. Some say it's Manze's interpretation that makes him so distinctive, that there's a combination of fantasy, intensity, and effortless virtuosity that make his performances so persuasive. Some say it's all these things at once and this 2006 disc of the last three of Mozart's five violin concertos is the proof.
Mozart Double Piano Concertos is Arthur and Lucas Jussen’s first orchestral recording, featuring two of the most famous works composed for two pianos. Ever since they performed for the Dutch queen in 2005 at the ages of just 12 and 8 years old and becoming the first Dutch artists to sign with the historic Yellow Label, Deutsche Grammophon, the Jussen brothers are regarded as something of Dutch national treasures.
The Finnish clarinettist Kari Kriikku is best known for his performances of contemporary works, many of them composed specifically to exploit his phenomenal virtuosity; his recording of Magnus Lindberg's Clarinet Concerto was one of the finest of the last year. But as this disc of Mozart and Molter with the Tapiola Sinfonietta shows, Kriikku is an equally impressive interpreter of the mainstream clarinet repertory. Like a number of soloists these days, he opts for a basset clarinet in his wonderfully fluid and constantly alert performance of the Mozart concerto, taking advantage of that instrument's extended lower register to restore the original shape of some of the solo lines. But there is not much he can do enliven the three routine concertos, by Johann Melchior Molter, which will be welcomed by clarinettists more than anyone else. The music leaves little impression, though Kriikku's performances on the high clarinet in D are technically impeccable.