Andrea Marcon / La Cetra

Mozart: Overtures

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This album of Mozart opera overtures will certainly delight the Mozart fan, as performed by La Cetra Barockorchester Basel under the baton of Andrea Marcon. This is indeed an orchestra that understands Mozart; the musicians utilize excellent technique and solid musicianship that respects Mozart's phrasing and dynamics. Apollo et Hyacinthus is sweet, light, and almost Baroque in character, as is La finta semplice, therefore these pieces are fitting for a Baroque orchestra. La finta semplice feels, one might argue, rather like a chamber piece or a concerto grosso; thus, it is interesting to examine the style of Mozart's overtures and how they vary in character over time. With Mitridate, one hears more of that famed Mozart melodic lyricism, coupled with his playfulness at the end of the piece. Ascanio in Alba is sunny yet majestic at the beginning, and this contrast is carefully performed by La Cetra. Betulia liberata is exciting in a different way, for the orchestra begins darkly and passionately, and then interprets the piece actively and aggressively. Generally speaking, Marcon conducts the works rather up-tempo, for they all seem to move and rarely stagnate. Mozart aficionados may listen most carefully to the overtures of the composer's very frequently performed operas, such as Le nozze di Figaro, with its swirling mystery at the beginning, or Don Giovanni, which begins gloomy and slowly, before it picks up the tempo. Perhaps this piece is slightly disappointing, for it is arguably the most dramatic of Mozart's operas, and the orchestra could have pushed the metaphorical envelope further here. But any artist or group of artists will always have a work in their repertoire that is less strong than others, so this cannot deter the listener from the merits of this CD. Così fan tutte, however, feels very fresh, and it concludes with exciting percussion. Also noteworthy is the overture to Die Zauberflöte, in which the orchestra has paid careful attention to the phrasing; one can especially hear this in the beautifully precise bowing in the violins. One comes away with a sense that certainly La Cetra Barockorchester Basel relishes this music and approaches it with a great sense of fun and levity. It is a solid choice for those who wish to include an album of Mozart overtures in their collection, played, so to speak, with a Baroque hand.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Apollo et Hyacinthus, K. 38
1 2:58 Amazon
Bastien und Bastienne, K. 50
2 1:46 Amazon
La finta semplice, K. 51
3 6:38 Amazon
Mitridate, re di Ponto, K. 87
4 5:34 Amazon
La Betulia liberata, K. 118
5 4:31 Amazon
Ascanio in Alba, K. 111
6 3:27 Amazon
Lucio Silla, K. 135
7 8:02 Amazon
Il re pastore, K. 208
8 3:07 Amazon
Idomeneo, re di Creta, K. 366
9 4:25 Amazon
Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K. 384
10 5:30 Amazon
Der Schauspieldirektor, K. 486
11 4:21 Amazon
Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492
12 4:10 Amazon
Don Giovanni, K. 527
13 6:19 Amazon
Così fan tutte, K. 588
14 4:32 Amazon
Die Zauberflöte, K. 620
15 6:43 Amazon
La clemenza di Tito, K. 621
16 4:37 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick