This second set in Brilliant Classics’ complete Mozart
series brings one of Mozart’s finest and best-loved operas - Le Nozze
di Figaro - together with a lesser known lyrical work, Apollo
et Hyacinthus. With a marked difference between the two performances,
these two works and recordings are complementary. The former is a live
recording on period instruments, conducted by Sigiswald Kuijken, one
of the stalwarts of early and baroque music. The latter, a studio recording
conducted by Max Pommer, is a hybrid recording, which sounds as though
the instruments are more modern, though it uses a harpsichord for continuo.
Sigiswald Kuijken recorded Figaro for Accent
records in 1998, and this set is a live recording from the same period.
Most of the soloists are the same as on the studio recording. The sound
of this set is very good for a live recording, and the orchestra and
soloists express a fine level of energy. The choir sounds a bit muddy
at times, but almost all of the soloists are top-rate. Werner van Mechelen
is a very good Figaro, and Christiane Oelze is an excellent Susanna.
This is perhaps not a "great" Figaro, but the overall
quality of the singers and musicians makes it certainly worth its bargain
Apollo et Hyacinthus is a lesser-known work
among Mozart’s corpus of vocal music. The music on this set was used
as interludes in a "spoken drama" by Clementia Croesi, probably
to add some interest to a text that the notes call "dry".
The recording is interesting, though. Dense choral movements alternate
with thick-sounding string accompaniment and recitatives with a harpsichord
playing continuo. Pommer gives a hybrid performance - while most of
the instruments sound modern, the harpsichord is clearly period. The
singers are excellent despite Venceslava Hruba-Freiberger who suffers
from ‘the chirps’ - not a single note comes out of her mouth without
vibrato. Nevertheless, there are some fine moments in this set, and
this is an interesting curiosity.
A very good set consisting of one of Mozart’s finest
operas and a little-known work. This bargain-priced box set will delight
Mozart fans, and continue to please those collecting this complete Mozart