Mozart Discovery is a two-CD package put out by EMI Classics, a combination of music and education that relies on EMI's back catalog for the music, but ties it all together with a handsomely illustrated, 100-page booklet featuring notes by BBC Radio 3 producer Lindsay Kemp. EMI has tried interactive formats before only to fail, most memorably in the notoriously unsuccessful Classical Music for Dummies series in the 1990s. Mozart Discovery is a quite different animal from "Dummies" as it is considerably more user friendly, the notes are extremely well written, and these will easily make sense to anyone who might take an interest in Mozart, his life, his talents, and his work. The notes appear in three languages, which make the book a bit heftier than it might have been, but this makes room for more illustrations, a perfectly acceptable trade-off. Most of the recordings are older ones, dating from the late analog/early digital period, and by no means do these represent the very best that is out there in terms of recorded Mozart. But at the baseline the recordings are more than adequate for this purpose, and several of the performances are inspired, such as Lucia Popp's recording of the "Alleluia" from Exsultate Jubilate or pianist Christian Zacharias' zippy, yet controlled rendering of the popular Allegro from the Sonata in C K. 545.
Mozart Discovery is not an item that would be appreciated very much by hardcore Mozartians who "have everything," or think they know everything there is to know about the wunderkind from Salzburg. But for everyone else, including fans of his music that don't know it backward and forward and in particular for interested children to whom reading a Harry Potter novel is no big deal, Mozart Discovery will make an excellent gift and may well be the best package of its kind seen hitherto.