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Mozart - Sinfonia Concertante · Concerto for violin, piano & orchestra / Midori · Imai · Eschenbach
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Christoph Eschenbach, Midori (Goto)
Mozart - Sinfonia Concertante Concerto for violin, piano & orchestra / Midori Imai Eschenbach
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1

An all-Mozart program, played by artists of the highest caliber, is always interesting, but this is a strange recording; it seems to focus on innovation. Even the Sinfonia Concertante, a familiar masterpiece, beloved espec...  more »

      
   
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An all-Mozart program, played by artists of the highest caliber, is always interesting, but this is a strange recording; it seems to focus on innovation. Even the Sinfonia Concertante, a familiar masterpiece, beloved especially for its incomparably beautiful, heartbreaking slow movement, is given a supposedly new twist: Nabuko Imai plays her part with the viola tuned a half-step higher. However, this is how Mozart wrote it, for greater technical ease and a more brilliant sound, and though many violists prefer the normal tuning, it is not a novelty. Moreover, Midori asserts that matching the retuned viola required changes in her own fingerings, but the part is so difficult that the choice is very limited. Besides, the two soloists primarily engage in conversation, coming together only at strategic, intense moments and in Mozart's own cadenzas, so the differences are not apparent to the naked ear. The playing on all hands is brilliant and expressive, though rather fussy, with a lot of artificial dynamic changes and echo effects. The other concerto is a "reconstruction" by Philip Wilby (who is not further identified in the booklet) of a 120-bar fragment he believes Mozart planned to use for a violin and piano concerto, along with material from a Sonata for the same instruments he had written shortly before, now known as K. 306. Wilby actually composed a rather long first movement based on Mozart's fragment and simply orchestrated the second and third movements of the Sonata. Unfortunately, Mozart's fragment seems undistinguished melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically, and Wilby's "completion" is naturally rather primitive, with some happy moments and some unhappy modulations. The Sonata, on the other hand, was Mozart's first great work in that form, and the contrast between the "real" and the "reconstructed" Mozart proves that his style can be imitated but not reproduced. Again, the performance by all concerned is excellent. --Edith Eisler

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CD Reviews

Refreshingly new Mozart
07/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This Sinfonia Concertante has some amazingly beautiful moments created by Midori and Imai. The air flows so naturally between the two with such an intimacy, and the music expands with full of youthful energy. Midori's playing is elegant with a sharp edge and Imai has sense of fun and joy in her playing. It seems to me that the editorial reviewer sounds very conservative and does not know very much about the piece. It was Imai who needed re-fingering for the retuned Viola, not Midori. Though the editorial reviewer is trying to focus on the novelty things from his narrow minded point of view, I don't see the intention of "trying so hard to do something new from others" from this performance. The communication between the two is excellent and there are some refreshing expressions, which form beautiful climaxes in the piece. Coupling "Concerto for Violin and Piano" is an interestingly charming and Eschenbach has returned to the piano seat gracefully. An excellent CD."
Viola "Scordatura" Blew Me Away
Daniel Bay Gibbons | Salt Lake City, USA | 01/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was blown away by this new recording of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major for violin, viola and orchestra. The viola part in this piece has always moved me, but never to the degree of this version. Reading the liner notes I learn that Mozart's manuscript instructions call for the scordatura (literally, the "mistuning") of the solo viola. The part is written in D Major, but the viola's strings are tightened and tuned a half not higher, to E-flat, giving the instrument extra brightness and greater projection. In this recording it gives the solo viola a unique sound and brilliance of its own. The soloist, Nobuko Imai is quoted in the liner notes as saying that the mistuning gives her instrument "another dimension," and the added tension allows her to achieve notes "with so much less force, and yet with greater security." I suppose the lesson is that it makes sense to follow the composer's instructions on the manuscript."
This is pure art...
Daniel Bay Gibbons | 05/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very good version of (in my opinion it is pure art) Sinfonia Consertante in E-flat major, K. 320d/364 version.By the way... about Amazons review... THIS CONCERTANTE IS MEANT to be played "mistuned" (meaning that violas strings are tightened and tuned a half tone higher, to give E-flat, instead of D-major).Both Midori and Nobuko Imai plays wonderful on this disc and Sinfonia Concertante is very well conducted and played by Eschenbach and his NDR-Sinfonieorchester. It is hard to describe but you people familliar with this work knows that suddenly you are in a beutiful viola part, in the first Allegro maestro, and on this disc it comes in a way I have never heard before... stunning, beutiful. Wonderful conducting from Eschenbach and beutiful, skilled played by Imai and Midori both lyrical, sensitive but at the same time distinct, forward moving.This Concertante version is probably played by the way Mozart meant ("mistuned" :-) to have it and it is both classical AND "modern"- at the same time -and that gives me a special positive feeling about this disc.About "Concert for Violin, Piano and Orchestra in D-major" it is a piece that also is excellent well performed and Eschenbach is def. a very talented pianoplayer. This piece is by the way some halfway finished work from Mozart (reconstructed by Philip Wilby) but anyway this sounds like Mozart too me. It is a lovely piece too.Record sound is stunning, marvellous and this disc music, performance and sound is simply pure art."