Well, how could we not review this excellent SACD, seeing as how the one and only quote printed on the jewel box – from a previous SACD by the same orchestra (their recording of Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony) comes from Audiophile Audition? The same references in that review to the supple and silky strings and the full-bodied woodwinds apply to this disc as well. And the leader of those winds is the soloist in the closing work here, the Clarinet Concerto.
There have been a number of recordings of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in recent years, but I found this one of the most enjoyable. The unusual orchestration Mozart employed is clearly presented, creating a perfect background for the almost vocal sound of the clarinet. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is one of the leading chamber orchestra in the world, and their eight recordings for Linn are all winners. They also made many recordings for other labels under Charles Mackerras. I recall being captivated by their first vinyl albums for Linn in the 1980s, and now via SACD they can be heard in even higher resolution plus surround sound.
As is well known, Mozart didn’t much care for the flute as a solo instrument, but you wouldn’t know that from his lovely Flute Concerto (or his Concerto for Flute and Harp). The appealing Bassoon Concerto is a completely thought-out and serious concerto, not some fluff as many Baroque bassoon concertos. Its middle movement Andante features a hymn-like main theme. The positioning and presence of all three soloists is just right – not overly spotlit as on some concerto recordings. Plus one receives close to the maximum here time wise. Another SACD of the highest recommendation.
– John Sunier