£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


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    




EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




 

BUY NOW 

AmazonUK  

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Così fan tutte - Drama giocoso in two acts, K.588 (1789-90)
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Fiordiligi - Pilar Lorengar (sop)
Dorabella - Teresa Berganza (mezzo)
Ferrando - Ryland Davies (ten)
Guglielmo - Tom Krause (bar)
Don Alfonso - Gabriel Bacquier (bass)
Despina - Jane Berbié (mezzo)
Jeffrey Tate, harpsichord
Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Georg Solti
rec. Kingsway Hall, London October/November 1973/74. ADD
DECCA 475 7033 [3 CDs: 46.53 + 71.04 + 65.48]



Decca have plundered their back catalogue for this 1970s Così. Solti had conducted the opera many times prior to this studio recording, giving his first performance at the Munich Opera House back in 1951. He resigned his position at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1971 to take up his duties as the Musical Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, although he would return to Covent Garden every year for the next ten years or so.

Così was Mozart’s third and last collaboration with Lorenzo da Ponte. The première was given at the Burgtheater, Vienna in January 1790, achieving only a moderate degree of success. Interestingly Haydn attended at least two of the rehearsals in the weeks leading up to the first production.

This is an opera without a leading character. The cast comprises six equal partners, who are equally significant and are given equal musical weight. Mozart, more than he had ever done before in an opera, speaks of human relations, feelings, love, betrayal, happiness and jealousy. His orchestration is of chamber proportions and a prime example of the clarity and concision of instrumental scoring favoured by neo-classical ideals.

In the short but delightful overture Solti and the LPO permit the effervescent wit of the opera to shine through. Especially appealing is the principal section with the rapid theme that courses gracefully through strings and then woodwind.

The Spanish soprano Pilar Lorengar as Fiordiligi, the sister of Dorabella, was an experienced singer and one can easily understand why she was cast in the role. Her soprano is light and creamy at the bottom and middle of her range and although she does not have a high volume she is able to expand her voice easily. The only drawback is that her distinctive vibrato intrudes and can prove distracting. Her celebrated arias, "Come scoglio" and "Ah guarda, sorella" are sung to considerable effect.

Tom Krause, the Finnish bass-baritone, is a supremely heroic and expressive Guglielmo. He shapes and phrases the aria, "Donne mie, la fate a tanti" with richness and consistent strength, never straining or pushing. At times, he is deeply moving especially when whispering his tender love words in Dorabella’s ear in "Il core vi dono".

To cast Teresa Berganza, the Spanish mezzo, as Dorabella the sister of Fiordiligi, was a fine choice. Bemoaning her sad fate in the aria "Smanie implacabili" Berganza’s voice is rich, strong and secure with a well focused tonal beauty.

As officer Ferrando the Welsh tenor Ryland Davies performs acceptably. He rather lacks variety of expression and in his aria, "Un’aura amorosa" it feels as if he is concentrating too much on the technical side.

The French mezzo Jane Berbié is highly attractive and appealing in her role as Despina, the ladies’ chambermaid. Despina has three wonderful arias: "In uomini, in soldati," "Questo e quel pezzo" and "Una donna a quindici anni." Berbié is clear and colourful with a confident style of projection. However, she does occasionally snatch uncomfortably at the higher notes.

As the old philosopher Don Alfonso the French bass Gabriel Bacquier is strong and resounding. He is especially characterful in the arias; "Alla bella Despinetta" and "Tutti accusan le donne".

One of the main highlights comes in the famous trio when Lorengar, Berganza and Bacquier as Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso are pleading for a safe and tranquil sea journey in "Soave sia il vento". It is hard to imagine this trio being sung better; even if Bacquier might have been positioned slightly further forward.

It is a while since I have heard this version of Così and re-acquaintance has demonstrated how enjoyable and well performed this version is. Solti was at the time of the recording a German citizen and had been awarded an honorary Knighthood for his work at Covent Garden. The recording captures Solti in his prime. His enthusiasm and commitment cannot be faulted and the LPO are clearly well prepared with first-rate work from the Royal Opera House Chorus. At times there is a slight shortage of charm and sophistication, which is what one has almost come to expect, yet readily accepts, owing to the genuine passion and the love of music-making that Solti exudes.

This is a highly respectable version from Solti and one that I will often return to. However, my personal favourites are the versions from: Böhm and the Philharmonia, with Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Steffek from 1962 on EMI 5 67382-2 and using period instruments, Jacobs and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra and Choir with Gens, Fink, Güra from 1999 on Harmonia Mundi HMX 2901 663-65. The Artsworld Satellite Channel have been recently showing Jürgen Flimm’s production of a live performance of Così from the Operahaus Zurich in 2000 with Harnoncourt and the soloists Bartoli, Nikiteanu, Baltsa, Sacca, Chausson and Widmer. An excellent production and performance that is well worth viewing. It is available on a DVD No.100012.

The Decca sound quality from the early 1970s is most agreeable and especially clear. The booklet notes have English translations of the libretto but are let down by the lack of an essay and a synopsis.

A worthy addition to any serious collection in this the year of the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth.

Michael Cookson

 

 

 

 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable Arcodiva
British Music Soc.
CDAccord
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter


Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.