Listening to this work so soon after hearing Zauberflote one is amazed anew that Mozart could write two such totally contrasted pieces within months of each other. Here, in the composer's last opera seria, we are in another world, one of formality tempered by the deep emotions engendered by love and jealousy. Instead of birdcatchers and Masonic rights we are dealing with historic figures in a supposedly historic context with down-to-earth feelings. For each Mozart finds precisely the appropriate music.
The present recording of the Piano Concertos KV 466 & 467 is the starting point for the complete collection of Mozart piano concertos to be issued by the label Accent. Arthur Schoonderwoerd, in great demand as a hammerklavier performer, and his ensemble Cristofori play on authentic instruments of the period or modern reproductions. The string parts in the orchestral accompaniment are played by only one musician per part, producing a slender, transparent tone which supports the hammerklavier without ever dominating its fine tone.
“This is unquestionably the most vital and authentic account of Idomeneo to date on disc. We have here what was given at the work's first performance in Munich plus, in appendices, what Mozart wanted, or was forced, to cut before that premiere and the alternative versions of certain passages, so that various combinations of the piece can be programmed by the listener. Gardiner's direct, dramatic conducting catches ideally the agony of Idomeneo's terrible predicament – forced to sacrifice his son because of an unwise row. This torment of the soul is also entirely conveyed by Anthony Rolfe Johnson in the title role to which Anne Sofie von Otter's moving Idamante is an apt foil. Sylvia McNair is a diaphanous, pure-voiced Ilia, Hillevi Martinpelto a properly fiery, sharp-edged Elettra.
Considered the greatest “opera seria,” Idomeneo was composed when Mozart was just twenty-five and a tour de force for all singers. A 1982 production starring superstar Luciano Pavarotti as Idomeneo, the tortured king of Crete, with Ilena Cotrubas and Frederica von Stade along with Hildegard Behrens providing the mad scenes!
Don Giovanni, a libertine, a rake with a devil-may-care attitude, is portrayed magnificently by Teddy Tahu Rhodes in this Opera Australia production, where he first appears on stage in a costume where less is definitely more! Charismatic and sexy, Rhodes’ acting and singing are magnificent. His misused servant, Leporello, is played by Conal Coad, who skilfully promotes the opera’s comic elements whilst delivering a thumping bass full of drama.
„Idomeneo“ ist Mozarts wildestes Bühnenwerk und die Harnoncourt-Aufnahme, der eine szenische Produktion in Zürich mit Jean-Pierre Ponelle als Regisseur vorausging, macht das über die Maßen deutlich. Die Platte gehört zum Besten, was Harnoncourt überhaupt produziert hat – und der österreichische Dirigent hat von Bach bis Bruckner inzwischen unendlich viel auf den Markt gebracht, mehr als der Medien-Superstar Herbert von Karajan.
It comes as no surprise that, a year after Rampal's death, James Galway should dedicate a disc to him. After all, Galway has always cited the Frenchman as his true mentor - and it was with Rampal that Galway first spied a golden flute. The recording actually happened over a year before Rampal died but appropriately enough contains concertos by the French Classical composer François Devienne, of whose music Rampal was a noted interpreter.