Esoteric have produced a remarkable transfer that preserves beautifully the hall sound, spatial information and detail. The brass and mass strings have excellent detail, revealing a lot of subtle harmonies and variation – a boon for anything Wagner. This contributes to an overall impression of sophistication and restraint and goes perfectly with Karajan's Wagner.
The art of Shakespeare was a recurring fascination for Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. In addition to two operas and numerous settings of songs and sonnets, he wrote 11 Shakespeare Overtures which here receive their first ever complete recording. Deploying all the resources of the symphony orchestra, these are some of the twentieth century’s most dramatic and tuneful orchestral works, spectacular evocations of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.
One may find a certain simplicity and naïveté in Josef Myslivecek's early Classical symphonies and overtures, since they are fairly rudimentary and barely distinguishable in form; and, lacking the sophistication and complexity found in Haydn's and Mozart's later, fully developed works, they may seem weak and unrewarding to all except scholars and fans of Rococo music. This 2004 double-disc from CPO presents six symphonies composed in 1772, the Symphony No. 5 in G minor, Op. 1, from 1764, and five overtures from operas written between 1769 and 1778. Whether intended as concert works or as operatic introductions, these pieces are uniform in their three-movement structures, and free of any innovative features or peculiarities that would make them stand out from other mediocre symphonies of the time… ~ Blair Sanderson, Rovi
This album of Mozart opera overtures will certainly delight the Mozart fan, as performed by La Cetra Barockorchester Basel under the baton of Andrea Marcon. This is indeed an orchestra that understands Mozart; the musicians utilize excellent technique and solid musicianship that respects Mozart's phrasing and dynamics. Apollo et Hyacinthus is sweet, light, and almost Baroque in character, as is La finta semplice, therefore these pieces are fitting for a Baroque orchestra. La finta semplice feels, one might argue, rather like a chamber piece or a concerto grosso; thus, it is interesting to examine the style of Mozart's overtures and how they vary in character over time. With Mitridate, one hears more of that famed Mozart melodic lyricism, coupled with his playfulness at the end of the piece. Ascanio in Alba is sunny yet majestic at the beginning, and this contrast is carefully performed by La Cetra.