The collection of classical pieces by Mozart, beneficial for the child's perception. Performed by Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and others.
While Kiri Te Kanawa was still preparing for that career-defining debut as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, she made her first Mozart disc under Colin Davis: a collection of sacred music, including the Solemn Vespers, KV 339, with its serene setting of ‘Laudate Dominum’, and Exsultate, jubilate. The Countess became the singer’s calling-card, and she repeated the role immediately in San Francisco and at Glyndebourne. The thwarted Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni followed, again under Davis at Covent Garden, before Kiri took her Countess to the Met in New York in February 1976, and sang her first Fiordiligi in Paris, in a production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. The Paris Opera was also the location of Kiri’s debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte in 1977. Her leap into superstardom came when she sang at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in July 1981…
If you need an introduction to Mozart, this starting point remains unmatched. While not my first Mozart, this collection was the first CD i owned. The purchase has never been regretted. Indeed, it maintains a pride of place in my shelves.
Brendel's performance throughout this series is impeccable. He delves into Mozart's music as if he'd been sitting in a salon with Mozart reviewing the composition. There is a strong sense of time and place in all the renditions of the master's expressive genius. Brendel has avoided the trap of "updating" the performance to some 20th Century idea of how they should be rendered. Brendel brings a sense of the delicacy to his performances without losing an iota of the power behind Mozart's compositions. Brendel seems to impart Mozart's evolving maturity as he recaptures the fourteen year duration over which these pieces were composed. Mozart would hear his music with pride were he here to enjoy Brendel's recreations.
This was to be the end of the line for Italian word-setting by Viennese composers: once the confident sentiments that belonged to the poet Metastasio's opera seria felt the chill and threatening wind of Enlightenment and Revolution, their time was up. Even we, for the most part, prefer to remember the German-speaking Beethoven, Schubert and Haydn. So it is good to be reminded of their responses to the Italian muse (usually as part of their craft-learning student work) in this particularly well-cast recital. Central Europe, in the person of Andras Schiff meets Italy, in Cecilia Bartoli, to delightful, often revelatory effect.
After the success of Così fan tutte and The Marriage of Figaro, René Jacobs' CD recording of this centrepiece of the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy offered us his reflections on Classical opera and garnered serious acclaim worldwide. Performed at the Innsbruck festival in August 2006 and filmed in Baden-Baden, this production is nourished by his thoughts on Don Giovanni as taboo-breaker but still respects Mozart's intentions as closely as possible.
In the documentary Looking for Don Giovanni, the director Nayo Titzin follows the creation of this production in the search for musical truth.