Mikhail Gurewitsch / dogma chamber orchestra

Mozart: Symphony KV 201; Schubert: Symphony No. 5

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This 2018 release marks a notable step for Germany's audiophile MDG label, which has at least mostly made, not studio recordings, but recordings in spots acoustically appropriate to the music. Here they present North Germany's dogma chamber orchestra (the name refers to the Dogma 95 credo of Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier) in what is purported to be a live concert at the Konzerthaus in Dortmund. How live it is may be open to debate; although an audience is pictured in the album graphics, total silence is maintained. You might want to invest in whatever manufacturer made the cough drops used to calm the throats of a Dortmund audience in January, and there is no applause. This said, the sound is extraordinary even by MDG's high standards, transparent and spacious, capturing background lines with breathtaking clarity. Sample the first movement of the Schubert Symphony No. 5 in D major, D. 485, with its ingenious introduction of the violins who creep in, as it were, on little cat feet. The Mozart Symphony No. 29 in A major, K. 201, makes an excellent pairing with the most Mozartian of Schubert's symphonies, and dogma's vaunted ensemble -- the group plays standing up, without a conductor -- is all it's cracked up to be. A strong Mozart recording that is to be played on the very best pair of speakers you can get to.

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