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Mozart: Haffner Serenade & Serenata Notturna

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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$12.11 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003CUP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,059 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
The Prague Chamber Orchestra has a special affinity for playing the music of Mozart. Their recordings of these two Serenades represent precision, depth of feeling and graceful technique. Sir Charles Mackerras conducts with sublime tempi. Even though the performances are on modern instruments, you will not notice because the balance is so excellent it sounds almost period. The Prague Chamber Orchestra maintains an intimate presence throughout. The ensemble is picked up perfectly by Telarc's engineers. You will feel as if you are sitting on the veranda beside the band. Mozart's "Haffner Serenade" is as light as an evening breeze. The solo violin during the Andante section is a delicate treat. The "Serenata Notturna" harkens back to the baroque era with a few military overtones. An excellent, all-around recording. It never gets dull - you can tell that the Prague Chamber Orchestra is having as much fun playing as you will listening.
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The (more or less) full traversal of Mozart's symphonies by the Prague Chamber Orchestra under Charles Mackerras is one of my top choices when it comes to those works, and these same forces dish up fine performances of the Haffner Serenade and the Serenata Notturna on this disc. Indeed, the Haffer on this release is my favorite rendition of the piece. The PCO occupies a kind of middle ground, using their size in a vague sense to perhaps split the difference between period instrument groups and "big band" orchestras. There's bite to this Haffner, plus weight and power behind it, but things never bog down. Anyway, I find the playing marvelous and the sound excellent. This is Mozart peformed energetically and assertively, but with restrained athleticism. The Serenata Notturna comes off not too wildly while still packing quite a bit of punch -- the percussion is not neglected. If you do the Full Macky and go with these forces in the symphonies, this disc, and the album containing Eine kleine Nachtmusik and the Posthorn Serenade, you needn't ever worry about buyer's remorse.
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The caveat concerns a few HIP swells and slightly overemphatic phrases. I emphasize their relative infrequency. The Prague SO plays beautifully, sounds airy and festive. Movements 2-4, employ a miniature violin concerto. Mozart did likewise in the Serenades #s 3-5 , 7,and 9. Here the violin soloist is Oldrich Vicek who plays with vitality, grace, and tonal sheen.. The outer movements are fairly brisk (an allegro molto in the first movement and an allegro assai in the final movement. The sixth movement Andante is not rushed and is sensitively phrased. The atmosphere is celebratory throughout.
The Serenata Notturna is excellent-light and brisk. The solo/ripieno strings (two violin, a viola and a double bass) are
joyful.

peers: Haffner Serenade: Kubelik/BRSO (my favorite); Marriner/ASMF/Philips; Munchinger/VPO/Decca; de Waart/Dresden/Decca (lp only)
Serenata Notturna: Marriner/ASMF, Klemperer/EMI
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It might seem to be an odd observation, but I feel that most performances of Mozart in particular, under the baton of Charles Mackarras are a safe choice for any cd collector. There is a certain rightness in his outlook of the music under consideration. His readings of Janaceck also fall into this category. It is too bad that he is no longer with us, but his work is sure to please most music lovers. JHR
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I'm always proud of Salzburg's favorite inhabitant -- one of the greatest geniuses to ever walk the face of the earth, and Sir Charles Mackerras achieves a wonderful performance with these Mozart gems.
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