Neville Marriner

Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 36 "Linz" & 40

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EMI's Encore reissues of Mozart's late symphonies with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields are fine choices for both the connoisseur and the neophyte, even though inclusion in the label's budget line might make them seem questionable. These 1986 performances of the Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550, and the Symphony No. 36 in C major, "Linz," K. 425, have only one drawback, if drawback it is, and that is the Academy's modern instrumentation, which fans of period re-creations may find somewhat disappointing. In all other aspects of Classical performance practice, though, Marriner and his ensemble take pains to render the symphonies idiomatically and tastefully, and Mozart's nuanced inner voicings in the woodwinds and horns are stunningly clear in these transparent readings. While not as warm, perhaps, as performances in the traditional style nor as sparkling as authentic renditions, Marriner's interpretations are somewhere in between, and the balance he strikes between expressive richness and technical accuracy may be appreciated by anyone with an open mind and ears. The disc's sound quality is fine by the digital recording standards of the mid-'80s, but it has not been remastered for this release.

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