Classical Recordings of Mozart

September 1, 2005 at 05:49 AM · I have a couple of copies of the Mozart violin concertos, but the artists play them in a romantic style. I am curious as to your suggestions for soloists that play the Mozart Violin Concertos more like Mozart would have played them. Specifically, I am looking for Nos. 3 and 5, but a recording of all five of them would be great.

Replies (38)

September 1, 2005 at 06:15 AM · I really like Isaac Stern for the Mozart concerti. I agree that many violinists play them too romantically.

September 1, 2005 at 03:07 PM · Grumiaux, always Grumiaux!

September 1, 2005 at 09:10 PM · Oistrakh - and nobody played Humoresque like him.

September 2, 2005 at 01:08 AM · "Oistrakh - and nobody played Humoresque like him"

You're right, no one plays it like him...but no one plays it better than Joseph Hassid. ;)

I recently suggested in a similar post to watch for the Mozart recordings by James Ehnes.

Preston

September 1, 2005 at 11:04 PM · Zimmerman is awesome!

September 2, 2005 at 05:52 AM · No recording mentioned here is in classical style, I am afraid...Check out Kremer, Huggett, Standage, Zehetmair...

IG

September 2, 2005 at 08:34 AM · You can't have heard James' yet as it isn't released until mid November. I'll bet it'll be quite in style.

Preston

November 5, 2005 at 10:21 PM · Hi,

La Petite Bande made 2 CDs for Denon back in the '90s, which are unfortunately pretty hard to find nowadays (Sigiswald Kuijken: #2, #3; Ryo Terakado: #1; both: Sinfonia Concertante, Concertone) -- as far as I'm aware, they never did #4 and #5. The CD with #3 and the Sinfonia Concertante is not as well recorded as other one, which contains the rest, but both are stylistically very good and generally boistrous music-making. One can have gripes about the technical level of the performances, but keep in mind that these two play primarily chin-off, and playing a Mozart concerto that way is rather a feat. BTW, if you're interested in the Haydn cello concerti and Sinfonia Concertante, La Petite Bande made an excellent recording of these (with Ryo Terakado taking the violin part in the S.C.)

The complete recording by the Academy of Ancient Music with Simon Standage (who also tends toward the chin-off camp) is very clean, a bit staid, but -- perhaps for precisely that reason -- an excellent "basic" version.

Monica Huggett's interpretations (with the Orch. of the Age of Enlightenment) I find good, but her note-shaping can be a bit gut-wrenching at times, and her general sound is skewed a bit more modern than the others I've mentioned.

I think Elizabeth Walfisch has recorded them as well, but I haven't gone out of my way to hear her Mozarts because I don't really like her Haydns ... they're edited to death, you can hear the cuts, and it destroys the flow of the music (which, for some strange reason, just doesn't want to sing).

Anyway, hope this helped somewhat...

Chris

November 6, 2005 at 07:13 AM · Pamela Frank's set of Mozart concerti springs immediately to mind (for obvious reasons?). Modern instruments and pitch, but clearly (if subtly) informed by "period" practice.

I'm embarassed to say I haven't heard the recordigns by Zehetmair or Kremer, two of my favorite violinists!

November 6, 2005 at 03:54 PM · Hi there, I know Augustin Dumay personnally and I can tell you two things :

1. He would have been very happy to play the St Georges concerto instead of being sick.

2. Now that Mr Dumay studied this concerto, I'm sure he would be happy to play it someday.

I the meantime, qhy don't you have a look at his official website which is www.augustindumay.net ?

With best wishes, enjoy yourself.

November 6, 2005 at 08:16 PM · I like the Kremer recordings with Vienna Phil. conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt (DG 1984) and my favourite recording to date is by Vadim Repin who recorded No 2, 3 and 5 with Vienna Chamber Orch. Menuhin conducting (Erato 1998).

November 11, 2005 at 11:36 PM ·

November 12, 2005 at 01:24 AM · Nikray,

All of the recordings you mentioned here are romantic. The original post alluded to classical recordings.

IG

November 12, 2005 at 09:02 PM · I would recommend Jascha Heifetz, Itzhak Perlman for definitive beautiful romantic/authentic recordings of these concertos. Stay away from the period performances.

November 12, 2005 at 09:37 PM · I have always liked the Heifetz #4 (the older recording, with Beecham) and Stern #3. Elegance personified, in both cases. And especially, the Heifetz is WARM.

November 12, 2005 at 09:47 PM · tetzlaff.

November 13, 2005 at 10:16 AM · stay away from Sal Rosenberg:)All the poor guy wanted to know was some "classical" recordings to listen to - why not take your Heifetz to a different thread? - say, the one where he is voting out Oistrakh? Your vote will count!:)

IG

November 13, 2005 at 06:12 PM · Haha Ilya, I never really come to think of it differentiate my favorite recordings of these Mozart concertos (Perlman, Heifetz) into a category of being less classical,but I suppose your suggestions would be more along the lines of a classical interpretation :)

November 13, 2005 at 11:18 PM · Greetings,

Ilya`s uphill battel reminds me of a stanza from the Huntng of the Snark:

I said it Hebrew I said it in Dutch,

I said it in latin and Greek,

But I wholly forgot

At the end of the day,

English is the language we speak.

If you go back to the original question Charlie specifically asks for a performance similar to what would have happened in Mozart`s time......

For what it`s worth, I think the Mozart cocnertos are often somewhat misunderstodd because they share similarities with chamber music and the symphonies as much as the knock em dead concerto stuff. The plus side is that one can get a lot of insight into the pieces by studying the quartets , sonatas and so on, a practice highly recommeded by Szigeti. There are quite a few very respectable authentic recordings of those out there.

Cheers,

Buri

November 14, 2005 at 12:58 AM · No-one ever mentions Leonid Kogan for the Mozart concerti, but he has some beautiful recordings of Mozart. Elegant but powerful.

David Lillis

November 14, 2005 at 06:04 AM · :))))Buri, I have a feeling our mission is becoming quixotic.

IG

November 14, 2005 at 07:02 PM · If chamber music contemporary to Mozart is fair game, then I would like to recommend the group L'Archibudelli, led by cellist Anner Bylsma. I like their recording of Haydn's last three quartets, if that's close enough to WAM. They have also done some Mozart quintets, divertissement, etc.

November 17, 2005 at 06:04 AM · Grumiaux ahead of the rest (like Szeryng (too slow and sluggish), etc). He's the ONE for Mozart VC (also the VS which he did with Haskil). Very lovely classical style adopted for JS Bach Solo pieces & VC; Haydn VC; Schubert Rondo & VS, Trout Quintet; Mozart String Quintets; etc.

November 18, 2005 at 12:36 AM · In spite of what I wrote a little earlier in this thread (recommending Heifetz and Stern), I have to say that I feel that as wonderful as other performers are, Grumiaux comes closest to what in my ear is the sweet sound of Mozart. The problem, of course, is that in all probability a violinist like Grumiaux, with that luscious vibrato, might not have sounded quite right to Mozart and the musicians and audiences of his time. Maybe the period performances (especially going light on the vibrato) are closer to what Mozart's contemporaries expected, but it isn't what the modern ear is used to. Maybe Mozart would have said "yes" to Grumiaux and the modern style, who knows. But it certainly seems odd to clearly prefer Grumiaux or any other modern violinist when this is clearly not an historically accurate style of performing. On the other hand, period performances may be more authentic, but that does not necessarily mean they are as beautiful. Perhaps this will never be settled until we are able to communicate with Mozart from the Great Beyond. I have a modest example interchange here:

Interviewer: Mr. Mozart, what do you think of modern period performances of your violin concerti and sonati and other pieci?

Mozart: It's nice.

Interviewer: Well, do you prefer it with vibrato or without vibrato?

Mozart: Vibrato? Oh, yes, the wiggle. Sometimes I like it with the the wiggle, and sometimes without the wiggle...Oh, you mean the vibrato on the violin.

Interviewer: Yes.

Mozart: Yes, of course. Vibrato is nice, but in my day we just didn't have this sort of thing. Say, who is this Beatles person I keep hearing about?

Interviewer: The Beatles isn't a person, it's a rock music quartet.

Mozart: Music now is played with rocks?

Interviewer: No, no, it's a style of music. Let me ask you this -- you met Beethoven once, when he was a young man. What did you think of him?

Mozart: Great potential. By the way, what ever happened to him?

How can we ever know for sure what the ancients would have preferred?

November 18, 2005 at 12:43 AM · Sander,

YAWN

IG

November 18, 2005 at 12:54 AM · Sander - If you read The Strad recently, there was such a thing (vibrato) in Mozart's time. By the way, was there such a thing as a tuning fork in the good old days? Why is it that some period reecordings have A= 415, A = 424, A = 394, etc? Why can't the period people settle on a definite pitch?

Also, would you like to see an actual performance of Beethoven's VC? That would involve some mistakes in the playing (I'm sure). Then, for a break from the 1st mvt, your period violinist would have to play the piece Franz Clement played (his own composition) with his violin upside down. Then the period violinist would continue with the 2nd & 3rd mvt of the Beethoven! Now that's period for me.

Also in Mozart's time - he said that the 40 violinists in the Paris orchestra sounded wonderful. In Salzburg, they did not have the budget for 40 violinists. So they made do with less people.

November 18, 2005 at 12:58 AM · Don't tell him his buds wouldn't kick in to put him in a real grave.

November 18, 2005 at 01:02 AM · Hey, guys, calm down, chill out. IG, sorry if I put you to sleep. Of course there was a vibrato, just not like today. And maybe I didn't make this clear, but I really do not care to listen to period performances, no matter how authentic. It just grates on my ears after a while. However, I would have loved to hear Franz Clement play the premier performance of the Beethoven VC, wouldn't you? He had no time to practice (except perhaps for the animal sounds or whatever he did with the violin upside down between the first movement and the rest of the concerto). To have been present at that historical event? You bet. But I don't think I would have liked the performance itself.

(IG: I'm finished. You can wake up now.)

Cheers, Sandy

November 18, 2005 at 06:23 AM · Get yourself into a time machine and go "Back to the Past" and not "Back to the Future" - then you'll see what F Clement did!!

November 18, 2005 at 11:31 AM · OK Sander. Thanks for a wake up call:) My point is - your argument in this thread is out of place. Why don't you start a new one and title it something like "Your favorite romantic recording of Mozart" or "Your favorite non-classical recording of Mozart"?:) It's like if I asked you to recommend a good breed of apples, and you would start arguing that apples are no good and I should really try oranges (sorry for this trite analogy)

IG

November 18, 2005 at 01:40 PM · Ilya, thank you for your response, and I hope you took my response in the good-natured manner it was intended. You are absolutely right. Sometimes, as there are more and more responses on these threads that go off in so many different directions, I sometimes tend to lose the original question. Good reminder to read the original question first. It really is a thrill for me to be able to talk to so many talented and accomplished people in a way that never would have been possible before the Internet. And in general, I really appreciate the comments of you and other professionals on this website that are understanding, instructive, and constructive to us amateurs. You are building an educated and appreciative audience with that kind of attitude. Thank you.

Cordially, Sandy Marcus

November 18, 2005 at 03:36 PM · no prob man:)

IG

November 18, 2005 at 05:55 PM · Now, if we could only get the world's political leaders to use online chat rooms...

November 18, 2005 at 06:00 PM · Amen.

November 18, 2005 at 07:21 PM · GB_2004: d00d i know 4 sure you have the WMD

Sadaam69: wtf, stfu you are such a loser

GB_2004: lmao, u r going down

Sadaam69: bring it, u r the suck

GB_2004: kk, c u in hell

Sadaam69: wtf stop spamming me

November 18, 2005 at 09:48 PM · LOL...

November 18, 2005 at 10:03 PM · nicely done, Eric.

November 19, 2005 at 01:54 AM · Ha!

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