Various Artists

Mozart: Harmonie Musiken

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If you're looking for the best-nown numbers from six of Mozart's most popular operas arranged for wind band, this is the set to get. With four of the arrangements played by the Bläser der Berliner Philharmoniker and the other two played by the Münchner Bläserakademie, the performances are all supremely virtuosic. The Berlin winds are tarter, with a bit more bite in their attack, while the Munich winds are warmer with more sweetness in the slow movements, but both ensembles are vibrantly colorful and deeply musical. While more Viennese lilt and charm in the phrasing wouldn't have hurt, one cannot fault the humanity of the players: they're just a little earthier, that's all. Originally written for listeners who already knew the music from Mozart's operas, these arrangements may seem beside the point to anyone who doesn't already know the music from its original context, and those folks are urged to hear the originals before partaking of the music on these discs. But for those listeners who already know and love Mozart's operas, these performances will provide a witty and entertaining comment on them. Although the Munich winds were recorded in the early '80s and the Berlin winds were recorded in the early '90s, Orfeo's sound is consistently warm and clear.

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