…Massimo Checchetto’s opening set…is winningly picturesque…Bepi Morassi’s staging within it seems perfectly natural, its charms never forced. Pratt has a beautiful, expressive face, ever alive to Amina’s changing fortunes and her unchanging love. Her voice, too, is lovely and expressive…She’s endearingly simple, just as Amina should be. Gabriele Ferro conducts the Fenice forces with grace and practiced style…The sound is spacious and the Blu-ray image crystal clear. (Opera News)
The title A due alti does not carry any metaphorical meaning, but simply means "for two altos": these are little Baroque chamber songs for a pair of altos and a good-sized continuo group. This repertory is almost completely unknown, but as august a personage as Handel took it up in Caro autor di mia doglia, HWV 182, and cared enough about that piece to go back and rework it years later (it is the later version that is heard here).
The partnership of Serkin and Abbado in Mozart is a fascinating one. They are such different musical personalities, yet they work remarkably well together, so that each performance becomes an artistic amalgam of two quite different artistic approaches. Abbado matches a natural spontaneous warmth (listen to the beguiling way the orchestra shapes the secondary theme in the first movement of the A major Concerto) with the utmost refinement of detail; whereas Serkin, patrician, authoritative, strong, is more selfconsciously expressive when he deviates from a strictly rhythmic presentation of the melodic line in the same movement.
Viktoria Mullova is one of the most versatile and charismatic violinists to have emerged in the late 20th century, demonstrating a high level of mastery in broad range of repertoires, from Baroque to Romantic and post-Romantic to jazz and crossover. She established her reputation early in the 1980s, winning both the Sibelius and Tchaikovsky competitions and going on to win the Grand Prix du Disc and a Diapason d'Or Award, as well as garnering numerous other honors. Her widely acclaimed 1987 Philips recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons is ample proof of her sure grasp of the idiosyncrasies of the Italian Baroque, and the freshness and vitality of her playing has made her version a favorite with listeners and critics. Mullova performs with passionate musicality and technical finesse, and Claudio Abbado leads the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in a nuanced, idiomatic accompaniment.