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.
Now attributed to Pergolesi on the basis of recent research, the ‘Seven Words of Christ’ has been regarded as ‘one of the most heartfelt works of art, full of profound tenderness and an all-conquering sense of beauty’ [Hermann Scherchen, on its discovery in 1930]. However, his judgment has remained unheeded and only the discovery of two more manuscripts in the abbeys of Kremsmünster and Aldersbach, by the musicologist Reinhard Fehling, prompted the firm of Breitkopf & Härtel to publish a critical edition…
Renowned for his work in Baroque vocal music, René Jacobs is most frequently credited as a countertenor and as a choral director. He is somewhat less familiar as a conductor of Classical symphonic music, though he has increasingly delved into this repertoire in recordings with one of Europe's best early music groups, the Freiburger Barockorchester. This 2007 release from Harmonia Mundi features Jacobs and the orchestra in bright and finely detailed performances of two of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's late symphonies, the Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504, "Prague," and the Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, "Jupiter."
"It begins startlingly: brisk, staccato, pistol-shot chords, and the oboe is off at a fashionably rapid pace which is arrested at the orchestral statement ‘Cosi fan tutte’: and then the Presto, at a tempo that tests the agility of the woodwind (and does not find it wanting). This is not, in short, a conventional performance, either of the traditional or the ‘period-instrument’ type. Rene Jacobs tends to make the fast music faster than usual and the slow slower. Several numbers emerge with a real brilliance of sound and execution: the last of the three trios in the opening scene, for instance, the sextet, the men’s laughing trio, the stretto of the Act 1 finale, or the end of the ‘lesson-in-love’ quartet. In much of the slower music he is apt to luxuriate. The farewell quintet is a case in point, but it is agonizingly lovely; the heavenly trio that follows too is leisurely, with a cloudy, sensuous quality to the sound…"
In the summer of 1781 Mozart described his new home Vienna as "the land of the piano". He soon set about presenting his own subscription concerts, offering the three newly-composed concertos on this disc for publication "either with a large orchestra or a quattro". The latter, more intimate versions of these charming works are performed here by Robert Blocker, Dean of Music and Professor of Piano at Yale University, and the youthful Biava Quartet, winners of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and top prizes at the Premio Borciani and London International Competitions.
La discographie de la musique religieuse de Mozart est dominée par la "Grande messe en ut mineur " et le "Requiem" au point de nous priver d'authentiques chefs-d'oeuvre, dont cette quatrième messe connue sous le nom de "Messe de l'orphelinat" ("Missa Solemnis" KV 139) …
Known for having elevated the symphony and the opera to popular levels in his lamentably short life, Mozart was also substantially involved in sacred music. Among many smaller works for solo chorus and for combined choral/orchestral forces, he composed an enormous seventeen settings of the Latin Mass, of which this is his last. But this C Minor mass, which is said he composed in 1782 and 1783, was never really completed in a way Mozart found satisfactory, and thus it has been up to others to put this work into coherent form. The recording here is based on the reconstruction done by Salzburg composer and musicologist Helmut Eder; he worked on the "Et Incanatus Est" section of the Credo, as well as the concluding Sanctus and Benedictus sections. The work is still Mozart's, and is scored for a fairly substantial orchestra: one flute; pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns, and trumpets; three trombones; timpani; organ; and the full string compliment, plus four soloists and chorus.
Two arias include obbtigato instruments. The violin version of the better known setting of the same text with piano obbligato k505. It is the soprano version of the long aria sung by an mezzo or tenor Idamante in Idomeneo. While not quite as phenomenally beautiful as k505, it is both lively and demanding, requiring virtuoso contributions from conductor, orchestra, violinist and soprano. For k505, best that I have heard is Ameling/Dalton Baldwin/Edo de Waart (see my review). Hendricks/Tate/Jose Luis Garcia and the ECO are equally good in the violin setting.