Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik

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Listeners who are well acquainted with the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart might bypass this Greatest Classical Hits compilation from Deutsche Grammophon if the three masterworks presented here are already part of their libraries. However, don't skip over it too hastily, for this is much more than just an affordable beginner's package -- not only because of the superb playing by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of the Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, "Eine kleine Nachtmusik," K. 525, and the Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550, but also for the classic reading of the Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, "Elvira Madigan," K. 467, by the brilliant Géza Anda and the Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum. The two offerings by Orpheus -- dating from 1985 for Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and from 1995 for the Symphony -- are all-digital recordings, and thanks to DG's world-class engineering, there is no important distinction of sound quality to be made between the two, since both are terrific. The recording of the Piano Concerto, however, dates from 1961, and though this is still a great-sounding rendition for the standards of the time, it is nonetheless an analog recording that shows some signs of tape hiss and a slightly hazy aural environment. Still, once Anda enters and demonstrates his unique sensitivity with this music, all concerns over the recording should vanish. This performance is perhaps an ideal introduction for newcomers to Mozart and this profoundly subtle pianist, and anyone who is charmed by Anda's playing may well consider tracking down the box set of the complete piano concertos, which was reissued in a streamlined package in 2002.

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