Clean, subtle, detailed texture; worth its weight in gold
Leslie Richford | Selsingen, Lower Saxony | 09/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Naxos production has a good deal to recommend it, and if I only give it a four-star evaluation, that is simply because Martin Turnovsky's version of the Notturno for Four Orchestras K. 286, as appealing as it may be, is not really successful in opening up to the listener why Mozart chose to write this music for four orchestras; if you want to get an indelible impression of what Mozart was probably trying to do here, you need to spend a little more and go for Christopher Hogwood's wonderful recording with the Academy of Ancient Music (coupled with the Serenata notturna and the Kleine Nachtmusik on Decca's early music imprint L'Oiseau-Lyre). Hogwood captures the fulness of sound and the cheery but eery echo effects so well that it would be unthinkable to award this Naxos CD the same number of stars.
But having said that, the main piece on this CD, the Posthorn Serenade, is marvellously done. The Capella Istropolitana (from Bratislava in Slovakia) is a small-sized orchestra (the picture included shows about 20 musicians); its Mozart offers a very clean, subtle texture which enables one to hear every detail of the music. If you are used to larger orchestras you may find the strings a little thin on the ground, but if you listen carefully you will be rewarded by a rich understanding of Mozart's intentions and some beautiful moments from the wind instruments. Before I bought this CD I only knew the Deutsche Grammophon recording by the Vienna Philharmonic under James Levine, a much 'thicker', more full-sounding, but romanticized version that was never really able to spark my enthusiasm. It was the Capella Istropolitana and Martin Turnovsky who enabled me to see the treasures in this piece.
Assuming you are willing to accept modern instruments for Mozart, you will find this to be a budget issue which, despite the lack of refinement in its encore, is worth its weight in gold."
David Saemann | 04/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Martin Turnovsky, who receives no biography on this disc, is a veteran Czech conductor whose work started appearing on LPs during the 1960's. He has a wonderful effect on the Capella Istropolitana. There are classic full orchestra treatments of the Posthorn Serenade by Karl Bohm and George Szell, although the Szell, which I have on LP, has never really gripped me. Turnovsky's chamber orchestra version says a great deal about the music in its own way. It is stately and unhurried, with finer string playing than one usually hears from this orchestra. There is an excellent terraced effect to the dynamics throughout the work from different sections of the orchestra. The posthorn solo, played by the principal trumpet of the Vienna Philharmonic, is splendid. This is a work which rewards various interpretive approaches, but Turnovsky's certainly is distinctive. I enjoyed the Notturno, too. Very good sound engineering, by the way."