Mozart: Violin Concertos Ii
Format: SACD / CD Hybrid
Richard Tognetti, artistic director and solo violin; Australian Chamber Orchestra
Completing the cycle of Mozart's violin concertos, begun on BIS-SACD-1754, Richard Tognetti and his Australian Chamber Orchestra offer us the first, second and fourth concerto, along with two shorter works for violin and orchestra: the Adagio in E major and the Rondo in C major. All Mozart's works in this genre were written during a few years quite early in his career, and as Mozart specialist John Irving explains in his liner notes, the composer, who by all accounts was a fine violinist, may have been making a bid for a better position as Konzertmeister at the court in Salzburg where he already held a less distinguished post. In spite of their early dates, the concertos demonstrate very clearly Mozart's tremendous development, and the fourth concerto in particular displays the confidence of the composer both in handling his material and in teasing the audience with the narrative he creates. In his own comments on the recording, Tognetti writes of his and the orchestra's decision to use gut strings, period wind instruments and a lower than usual pitch, with the aim to create 'a sound which we know Mozart would have recognised'. But as there is no way for us to know what 'authentic' Mozart violin playing sounds like, Tognetti's approach has been 'simply to look at the notes Mozart wrote down, and start from there, creating a hybrid hopefully carrying an embodiment of truth'. The result is highly convincing, as reviews of the previous disc show. The German website klassik-heute.de has given it top marks, describing the performances as 'uncommonly fascinating... full of wit, emotion and sheer joy of playing.' The reviewer in The Observer (UK) recommended the disc highly, for its 'beautifully nuanced' and 'transcendent' performances, and 'gloriously exciting, tangy edged, alert and playful sound.' In International Record Review, finally, his colleague found the disc 'wonderfully refreshing ... a constant delight' with a recorded sound 'beyond praise', going on to state that 'Tognetti finds a musical substance in these works that is matched by very few rival versions.'