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Best Recordings of 2013 (#9)

High time for a review of classical CDs that were outstanding in 2013. My lists for the previous years: 2012, 2011, (2011 – “Almost”), 2010, (2010 – “Almost”), 2009, (2009 – “Almost”), 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.

# 9 - New Release

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Complete Symphonies, volume 2, Danish National Chamber Orchestra, Adam Fischer (conductor), Dacapo SACD 6220537

available at Amazon
W.A.Mozart, Complete Symphonies, volume 2
A.Fischer / Danish National CO
Dacapo SACD

Mozart’s early works are, all mindless Mozart-veneration aside, not masterpieces. All the more surprising that Adam Fischer makes so very much of some of the earliest (1767/68) on this second volume in a well-advanced complete cycle (released in seemingly random order). With the Danish National Chamber Orchestra’s extraordinarily spirited playing, Symphonies 6 through 8, K45a (doubtful), and K.45b (“Old Lambach”) are kid’s stuff no longer. With Karl Böhm (Berlin Philharmonic DG), some slow movements rise to notable beauty, but the rest is tame. With Fischer, it’s fun, if not rapturous going throughout. Comparing to earlier releases of their now complete Mozart Symphony cycle, you can hear how much ensemble and conductor have come to grow into this project, how more self-assured, how much more daring they have become, how much more into their own they have come, how much they have grown to arrive at a functionally-bold Mozart-synthesis. Splendid, nifty liner notes and presentation round off this most enjoyable release.

# 9 – Reissue

Johann Sebastian Bach, Orchestral Suites (Overtures), Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik, Harmonia Mundi 501578

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J.S. Bach, Orchestral Suites (Overtures)
Harmonia Mundi

It is true that with Bach’s Orchestral Suites, I find myself most readily pleased by any good performance, whereas with the Brandenburg Concertos I find the differences not just obvious but considerable with decided preferences for one over another interpretation. Most recently I found the Concerto Köln’s recording of the Orchestral Suites very pleasing, and if dancing be the issue, Concerto Köln might well be my top choice. The 1996 recording of Berlin’s Akademie für Alte Musik (Akamus) isn’t so much a dancer, it’s a charmer. A consistently beautifully played performance without kinks or extremes, there’s a reason it has been my standard against which to measure all newcomers in this still less-crowded-than-might-be-expected field. Now that it’s back, it deserves mention here, even if it means that this year's list will be particularly Bach-heavy.

-> Best Recordings of 2013 #10