MOZART: Symphonies 39-41 – NDR Sinfonie- Orchester conducted by Günter Wand – RCA

by | Jul 9, 2005 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

MOZART: Symphonies 39-41 – NDR Sinfonie-Orchester conducted by Günter Wand – RCA 82876-65842-2 (80 mins.):

The performances, recorded in the Musikhalle in Hamburg in 1990 and
1994, and beautifully polished by a Sonopress team in Gütersloh,
capture the art of Günter Wand at his affectionate best, an odd mix of
sturdy and elegant that so often led to music making of deeply
affecting grandeur and grace.

You can hear it less obviously in the fast movements, which initially
sound on the clunky side before convincing us that their long lines and
broad speeds are going to be more exhilarating than heavy-handed. This
is most evident in the first movement Allegros of each the three
symphonies, where Wand and his orchestra perform miracles of elision
that round off rough and clumsy edges, while creating in the process an
understated buildup of momentum and even, occasionally, a sense of
swing. And then, just when you think you’ve got him sized up, orchestra
and conductor set off at pretty brisk if not exactly breakneck speeds,
as in the last two movements of No. 40 and the concluding fugue of No.

You can hear Wand’s art at work most tellingly in the slow movements
which he invests with the kind of hushed reverence of phrase and
quietly sumptuous fabric of sound that were the rule for most of the
last century before the authentic performance practice crew arrived,
admittedly gloriously so, with their historical documents and
reconstructed instruments. Strongly recommended of a reminder of just
how satisfying mainstream Mozart can be.

– Laurence Vittes

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