Nikolaus Harnoncourt / Concentus Musicus Wien

Mozart: Symphony No. 35 "Haffner"; Posthorn Serenade

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Nikolaus Harnoncourt's 2014 Sony release offers three of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's compositions, connected to his years in Salzburg. Intended to accompany the university's summer closing ceremonies, the March in D major, K. 335, was one of two marches used as processional music for the student body, and scholars connect them to the Serenade in D major, K. 320, "Posthorn," which was composed in 1779 as the ceremonial Finalmusik. While the Symphony No. 35 in D major, K. 385, "Haffner," is connected to the earlier Serenade in D major, K. 250, "Haffner," it fits well with the festive style and key of the previous works on the CD and shows the close connection of the multi-movement serenade and the four-movement symphony in Mozart's mind. Harnoncourt and his longtime ensemble, Concentus Musicus Wien, give impeccable performances in Classical period style, and the robust sound of these recordings is striking for its clarity and penetrating tone, just what would be needed for outdoor performances. Even so, the listener may wonder why the "Haffner" Serenade wasn't chosen for the program, to correspond to the "Haffner" Symphony, if the purpose is to show the real musical and historical connections between Mozart's works. One can only hope that Harnoncourt will record it sometime with Concentus Musicus Wien for Sony, because he last recorded it in 1989 with Staatskapelle Dresden for Teldec, and that recording's availability is limited.

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