early Arthaus product here - notice the number - containing
two contrasting performances of Mozart symphonies. The booklet
notes discuss the symphonies in chronological order, starting
therefore with the 'Paris'. Could Arthaus have changed their
minds and put the G minor first, simply because it leads on
to the better performance?
G minor is rather run-of-the-mill. The setting is impressive,
in a castle, although strangely it looks at times as if it is
a painted-on piece of scenery in the background! Camera work
is fine, with many shots of Gelmetti's possibly over-emotive
conducting - especially in the second movement - and appropriate
shots of soloists. In fact it is very similar in feel to the
Gielen Beethoven DVD cycle I reviewed on these pages. The Stuttgart
orchestra plays well, sculpting the lyrical parts affectionately.
The repeat is taken in the first movement. There are many nice
moments, and some when ensemble just about stays together. The
recording seems to favour the bass end, leading to muddying
of textures on occasion; the church acoustic can't have helped!
breaks between movements feel rather disruptive sitting in one's
living room and the general impression is that you probably
had to be there. How else to explain the audience's enthusiasm
at the end?
Tate's Mozart is far better-known, and with good reason. Tate
draws a punchy, involving sound from his Mozarteum orchestra,
the opening truly gestural. Violins can perhaps tend towards
the sluggish in fortes, but it is the suave moments that impress.
The whole performance exudes style ... in both senses. Plenty
of opportunities to examine Tate's gestures; always for the
musicians, always expressive, always with a point. The scales
towards the close of the first movement are spot-on; the close
itself positively joyous.
Tate's Mozart is 'big' in scale, the slow movement radiates
tenderness; the string definition in the finale has to be heard
to be believed.
to recommend this product then, if only one symphony out of
two - and the shorter one at that - is fully up to scratch.
But if you get a chance to see the Tate, do.