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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 Ė 1791)
Overtures
The Nozze di Figaro K.492.
Bastien und Bastienne, K.50.
Der Schauspieldirektor, K.486.
Lucio Silla K.135.
Cosi fan Tutte, K.588.
La Finta Giardiniera, K.196.
Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K.384.
Il Re Pastorale, K.208.
Idomeneo, K.366.
La Clemenzo di Tito, K.621.
Don Giovanni, K.527.
Die Zauberflöte, K.620.

Staatskapelle Dresden Ė Sir Colin Davis.
recorded 1996 Lukas Kirche, Dresden, DDD, STEREO.
RCA 74321 68004-2 [61.22] superbudget


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All of the majors are re-issuing discs at budget price in an attempt to swell revenues. This means that avid collectors will be able to pick up discs which they may not have bought when they were first issued at full price. The present disc is a good example of this.

Our disc of Mozart Overtures was recorded in 1998, so in essence we are talking about a virtually brand new recording. The cover proudly states that it has been re-mastered to 24/96 digital format, but I am sure that the original, already superb, is unlikely to be substantially improved upon. This may not be the case with some earlier recordings, but the present disc now becomes either a great bargain for the impecunious collector, or a wonderful way of collecting something which was missed before.

It is normal for recordings to pass through the mid price band and then to budget, exhausting buyers at each stage. What BMG has done here is to go from full price, straight to super budget without the mid price sojourn. We must not complain, as we are the beneficiaries of this strategy, and with the current disc you will get an absolutely superb bargain.

Sir Colin Davis has loved Mozart almost since the beginning of his career and he has had many years experience in chamber, concert hall and opera house conducting these works. In addition, we have here an orchestra which is first and foremost a classical orchestra, which has played Mozart as a staple part of its repertoire for more years than our conductor has been conducting. Sir Colin has been guest conductor with the Dresden Staatskapelle for a number of years, and has recorded a very well received Beethoven Symphony cycle with them.

Here Davisís sure hand is clearly in evidence with the orchestra clearly loving what they are doing, and giving of their best. I canít think of a better way than this to spend an hour in the company of these artists.

On this disc the performances of a wide range of Overtures are absolutely delectable. We traverse Mozartís overtures from the early works Bastien und Bastienne, Luci Silla, La Finta Giardiniera and Il Re Pastore, to some mid career works Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Idomeneo. We also get the later works such as Le Nozze di Figaro, Der Schauspieldirektor, Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte.

It is a disc which you are unlikely to listen to entirely without a break, but if you do, as I did, you will be entranced by the quality of playing and recording. This recording was a bargain at full price, need I say more??

John Phillips


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