Hans Peter Ochsenhofer / Wiener Mozartisten

Haydn, Mozart, Schubert

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The Wiener Mozartisten is a small group of perhaps 16 players drawn from the venerable Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The fact that their talents would be applied to symphonies of Haydn and Schubert bespeaks a freshness of approach; not so very long ago the entire orchestra would simply have plowed through these three works, and that would have been it. Better still, these are exceptional interpretations. Conductor Hans Peter Ochsenhofer, a VPO violist, takes his time and brings out the exceptional string ensemble work of the group, turning it into a flexible instrument that can make something lively out of the attack in a simple cadential phrase. The reading of Haydn's Symphony No. 101 in D major, Hob. 1/101 ("The Clock"), is exceptional, one of the very best on the market, with the back-and-forth slow movement that gave the work its (not-original) nickname drawn out into the slyest possible comedy and the outer movement the very epitome of delicate wit. The other two pieces avoid the tendency to simply luxuriate in the players' lush string sounds. Mozart's Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546, is crisp and serious, and the Schubert Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, D. 485, somewhat broader; this small-scale reading is very easy to imagine being played by a group of about this size in one of Schubert's Viennese evening musicales. But Schubert's friends wouldn't have had the control heard here. With fine studio engineering from Japan's Camerata label, executed in Vienna's Studio Baumgarten, this is a compelling release of familiar Classical pieces in the durable Viennese style.

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