Various Artists

Best Mozart 50

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EMI's Best Mozart 50 is a three-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 which 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 Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, and Don Giovanni sampled on Disc 2; and chamber and keyboard pieces assigned to Disc 3. It's difficult to dispute any of the choices here, except for the absence of any of Mozart's sacred music, of which the Requiem surely deserves some mention. 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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