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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Symphony No. 33 in B flat major, K319
Symphony No. 35 in D major, K385 'Haffner'
Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields/Iona Brown
Rec April 1997, Henry Wood Hall, London
HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 94.003 [40.18] Budget
CD available for post-free online mail-order or you may download individual tracks. For some labels you can download the entire CD with a single click and make HUGE savings. The price you see is the price you pay! The full booklet notes are available on-line.

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These performances were recorded as recently as 1997, when they were issued on two separate CDs, coupled respectively with two of Mozart's largest serenades, the Haffner and the Posthorn. Price aside, the original issues offered better value, each containing 70+ minutes of music. Now, at bargain price, this reissue enters a competitive arena and has the drawback of its mere forty minutes of music as its major (but not sole) limitation. This is such an obvious point that I am surprised that no-one considered it and vetoed it when the new coupling was decided upon.

To deal with the other caveat immediately: there are no insert notes, merely the offer of a 'free download of the booklet'. So extra effort and extra storage will be required. Hässler tell me that for those without Internet access, the notes will be sent by post upon request, although they do not inform purchasers of this.

If these obvious sticking points seem problematic, it needs to be said that both the performances and the recorded sound are quite excellent. In fact I doubt whether better performances can be found anywhere. The Academy have recorded these works previously with Sir Neville Marriner, of course, but Iona Brown's performances are, if anything, the more exciting. Tempi tend to be on the swift side, but that suits these pieces, while the virtuoso playing and keen attention to detail and nuance mean that the music fares really well.

Neither of these works can ultimately be classed among Mozart's greatest. However, they are still wonderful examples of his art, and will give much pleasure, particularly when played and recorded as well as this. If you put quality above quantity, forget the short playing time and the lack of notes, and try this disc.

Terry Barfoot


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Symphony no. 33 K. 319 in B flat Major

Allegro assai
Andante moderato

Symphony no. 35 'Haffner' K. 385 in D Major

Allegro con spirito

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