Olivier Charlier / Prague Chamber Orchestra

Mozart: Violin Concertos Nos. 3, 4 & 5

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This album of three violin concertos by Mozart is cleanly rendered by violinist Olivier Charlier as the soloist with the Prague Chamber Orchestra. Each concerto is unique in character and spirit, and Charlier plays with a seemingly effortless grace in all three. The Concerto in G major begins with the orchestra, which plays with an overall light sound; in addition, we hear all of the bow attacks and string crossings, due to the particular style of recording. Charlier's entrance is very clean and crisp. He plays with a precision that shows he wastes no energy. His style is not sentimental, but rather reserved and mature with excellent technique. The cadenza at the end of the first movement is very graceful and elegant. Charlier's long legato lines are straightforward in the second movement, and his strong sense of rhythm is evident in the third movement, a rondeau that bounces with the more-energized orchestra. The D major concerto shows an overall more confident orchestra. It sounds brighter as it plays under Charlier's effortless cadenza in the second movement. Perhaps one general criticism is that given Charlier's considerable talents, there could be sharper, more dramatic dynamic contrasts and phrasing. This is more evident in the final work on the album, the Concerto in A major. Mozart has developed more as a composer here, and it is an overall more sophisticated work. The violin has a surprisingly quiet entry after a vigorous orchestral introduction: the piece begins with a cadenza. Charlier clearly relishes the phrases here, and one cannot help but be spellbound by the sheer beauty of how he plays the adagio. The concerto concludes with a stately orchestra that swells dramatically yet never loses its elegance. Charlier once again handles this movement with great ease, and the overall effect is a good example of Mozart's signature style.

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