MOZART: Symphonies 36 “Linz” and 39 (Vol. 11) = Danish Nat. Ch. Orch./ Adam Fischer – DaCapo

MOZART: Symphonies 36 KV 425 “Linz” and 39 KV 543 (Vol. 11) = Danish Nat. Ch. Orch./ Adam Fischer – DaCapo multichannel SACD-DSD 6.220546, 57:19 [11/19/13] [Distr. by Naxos] *****:

The penultimate installment in DaCapo brave and glorious Mozart symphonies cycle with Adam Fischer and the Danish National Chamber Orchestra couples mature Mozart symphonies before and after he discovered the clarinet with the help of Anton Stadler.

It also charts the composer’s progress from just sheer brilliance at putting on big and charming but relatively impersonal symphonies to the comprehensive majesty of imagining, realizing and sustaining the deeper colors, melodies and expressive impact the two clarinets bring to KV 543.

The advantage of recording all of Mozart’s long symphonic output and creating a very successful “house” style in doing so raises the inevitable challenge to the artistic team to keep the music making fresh and original.

No fear: Nothing is left to chance, there is not one moment when the musical impetus and thrust, whether light or explosive, is not paramount in determining the direction and weight of the whole orchestral body. The violins, in particular, who can most easily become bogged down in the relentless demands Mozart makes on their ability to energize at key moments in his symphonic music and, because of his transparent writing, their intonation, make splendid protagonists.

As for the clarinets, they make their presence felt mainly in the overall orchestral sound, although there are moments like the exquisite sighs in the Andante con moto followed towards the movement’s end by two bars of the most exquisite harmonic movement down a scale with only the two clarinetists playing. And then there the Menuetto’s iconic Trio, which the two clarinetists play with delicious, liquid cool. (If you’re wondering what Mozart could possibly have thought up for the two clarinetists to do in the frantic last movement, the truth is not much except for tootling along with the rest of the wind band and a few snatched bars of 16th-notes here and there.)

As impressive as the sound (recorded in the Danish Radio studios) is in the conventional two channels, the extra breathing space it gains in the surround sound format substantially enlarges the sound space and the sense of expansion in the orchestra’s phrasing, with the soloists being naturally balanced. And though it may be shallow to say, Mozart would have loved the sound of DaCapo’s big bass drum.

Claus Johansen’s charming liner notes focus on Mozart, the clarinet, Anton Stadler and interesting details about the 39th Symphony but nothing about the “Linz.”

—Laurence Vittes

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