Ultimate Mozart

Various Artists

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Ultimate Mozart Review

by Patsy Morita

This set of recordings from the vaults of the Decca and Philips labels has an advantage over other samplers of the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in that it gives listeners complete multimovement works, not just a single movement or an excerpt of a movement. On the other hand, because of this, the number of works presented is by necessity much smaller than other compilations. Rest assured, though, that the producers selected the best of the best of Mozart's compositions. The symphonies are represented by No. 40 and No. 41 on the first disc of the set, with Georg Solti conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. The concertos covered on discs 2 and 3 include the Piano Concerto No. 21 "Elvira Madigan" with Vladimir Ashkenazy; the romance-tinged Flute and Harp Concerto, K. 299; and the bright Horn Concerto No. 4. Disc 4 covers the chamber music with Eine kleine Nachtmusik, the Serenata Notturna, and three divertimentos. Finally, the Requiem and the "Coronation" Mass on disc 5 are, to many, the high points of Mozart's choral music. Both feature conductor Peter Schreier and the Dresden State Orchestra, with Margaret Price, Theo Adam, and Thomas Quasthoff among the soloists. These recordings, and especially those featuring Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, are very recommendable, even though originally recorded between 1968 and 1991. This is a fine set for someone who wants to get to know Mozart's music but isn't interested in just bits and pieces of it.

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