Various Artists

100 Best Mozart

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EMI's Best Mozart 100 is a six-disc sampler of the most famous pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, regarded by many as the greatest composer of the Classical era. The selections touch on all the genres Mozart composed in, including concertos, symphonies, operas, chamber music, and keyboard works, but in most cases, these famous pieces are represented by single movements and excerpts that may not give an accurate impression of what the full compositions are like. Newcomers to Mozart should be aware that classical greatest-hits compilations seldom present complete multimovement works, and the only exceptions here are the Serenade in G major, "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," and the popular Piano Sonata in C major, "Sonata semplice." EMI has drawn on its deep backlist to provide examples of the most recognizable works in performances by many highly regarded artists of the late 20th century. The recording dates from 1960 to 1992, so the mix of ADD and DDD tracks guarantees some variability in the sound, but not enough to be disconcerting. The organization of the package is threefold, with concertos and symphonies grouped on disc 1, the operas sampled on discs 2 and 3, and chamber and keyboard pieces assigned to discs 4 and 5, and the choral music -- including excerpts of the Requiem -- on the final disc. It's difficult to dispute any of the choices here, but for an introduction to the world of Mozart, this package is serviceable, and with any luck it will steer beginners in the right direction.

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