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Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik; Serenata notturna; Posthorn Serenade; Haffner Serenade Import

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, July 15, 1997
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  • Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik; Serenata notturna; Posthorn Serenade; Haffner Serenade
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Editorial Reviews

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Here, on two well-packed discs for the price of one, is the cream of Mozart's many serenades. Mozart was the only composer to successfully conquer this hybrid form. For him, an orchestral serenade meant a large work (often nearly an hour long) combining all of the parts of a symphony with several aspects of the concerto. There are marches, minuets, and sections featuring a solo violin or horn. Karl Bohm was a Mozart specialist--his interpretations have just the right combination of discipline and spontaneity. This is music from an era when the pace of life was much more leisurely than it is now. So sit back, relax, and enjoy. --David Hurwitz
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Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Karl Böhm
  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Audio CD (July 15, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GYG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,741 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This 2-CD set offers four of Mozart's most beautiful compositions performed by one of the 20th century's greatest conductors of Mozart, with the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic, with outstanding sound quality on a remastered analog recording from the 1970's. If that were all it offered, it would already be more than enough to satisfy the listener.

But it also offers the heavenly beauty of Thomas Brandis' violin performance in the "Haffner Serenade" on Disc 2. The quality of his performance is as good as that of any violinist that I have ever heard; it is filled with sweetness, lyrical poetry, elegance, depth, and tenderness. There are passages of rapid scintillating solos that sparkle with joy, lightness, and wit. Thomas Brandis prepared his own cadenzas in movements 2 (andante) and 4 (Rondeau: Allegro). His performance in the Rondeau is like entrancing magical poetry.

The balance between the violin and the orchestra in the "Haffner" Serenade could not be more perfect. As they go back and forth, giving a seamlessly coordinated performance, they respond to each other like true partners and with ebullient rhythmic energy brimming with joy and love for the music they're performing; it's as if the violin and orchestra were dancing with each other, whirling up and down the length of a long ballroom. The sound of the orchestra is rich and full of majestic grandeur, but never weighty, ponderous.

Karl Bohm was in his late seventies and early eighties when he rcorded these four works. He brought an entire lifetime of intimate knowledge of and love for Mozart to these performances that radiate with elegance, warmth, and vitality.
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I've always greatly admired the vintage Mozart recordings conducted by Karl Bohm, as long as he was standing in front of the Berlin Philharmonic. His traversal of the (more or less) complete symphonies of Wolfgang are in my view the best renditions of those works by an old style "big band" orchestra, and the performances of the the Sinfonias concertante are rivaled in my mind only by the versions from the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Here, in four more popular Mozart works, the pattern holds -- almost. I found the Eine kleine Nachtmusik in this set adequate but no great shakes, but then it's the Vienna Philharmonic that's performing. I don't know if it was the ensemble or if perhaps Bohm's association with the Vienna group came at a different point in his life, but the Mozart he churned out with that ensemble never seems to click with me. Fortunately, the other three works are played by the Berliners, who succeed reasonably well. The Haffner Serenade is the best of the that remaining trio, in my view. The playing is vigorous, sharp and conveys both athleticism and grace -- it easily rivals my other favorite version, that on Telarc with Charles Mackerras leading the Prague Chamber Orchestra. The Posthorn Serenade is good, but to my ear doesn't come off quite as well. It's a fine performance, yes, but it comes in third in my estimation behind Mackerras and the PCO and Nikolaus Harnoncourt's pull-out-all-the-stops tour de force with Staatskapelle Dresden. One of the shortcomings of Bohm's Posthorn, I think, is the reduced emphasis on percussion, which really comes to life in Harnoncourt's performance. For much the same reason, I find Bohm and the Berliners' offering of Serenata notturna just a bit too tame for my tastes. On the whole, I do recommend this set highly: The Posthorn and Haffner Serenades are excellent, and worth the price alone. As for the other two, they're just okay.
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Eine kleine Nachtmusick although delightful is over played and perhaps even over-rated. Mozart has far greater music than this--was this music was written for one of Emperor Joseph's outdoor parties? The Serenades and Divertimienti are far more interesting, in my sometimes not so humble opinion.
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I have to say that after listening to this Berlin/Bohm set, the Haffner and Posthorn Serenades are my FAVORITE Mozart pieces out of ALL Mozart's output! All thanks to Bohm!

I swear by these discs...these pieces...these interpretations. They're highly addictive. I've compared the Haffner and Posthorn to all other versions. None come close in majesty, brilliance and sonics.

The Serenata Notturno is also quite fine actually, but I do have to say that the Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is the worst I ever heard, it's extrememly thick and stodgy, with bland and unnthusiastic playing. I never thought that would be possible coming from the Bohm & the Vienna Philharmonic! Must have had a bad day or something.

(A small sacrifice to pay for the unending joy of the Haffner and Posthorn.)

Nevertheless, you'll NEVER be able to stop thanking Mozart for writing these pieces and for Bohm, the Berlin and DG for recording them!
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Some nights I wake up in a cold sweat at the thought that a sex-tape featuring Karl Bohm will surface from the vaults to terrorise the world. What a shocker it would be! Mishaps - as they call them - might even occur if those bullet-proof glasses become fogged up. It could trigger mass defections to `other dynamics'. After all, Uncle Karl is a byword for sobriety. If such a tape exists, surely it would be the equivalent of "an oil and lube" job on a 1963 VW Beetle - which makes these performances all the more mystifying.

Something peppery - be it a forerunner of Red Bull or an impending stay at the `All Gods are Dead - Everything is Permitted Nudist Club' - has galvanised this avuncular figure to impart animal excitement to the Posthorn Serenade, K 320. Mozart-wise, there's nothing to match this performance in Bohm's discography: it's Man on Fire time. Sure, a vintage Berlin Philharmonic tear into the music with their heady alloy of torque and delicacy - even so, the adrenaline emanates from the podium. Three illustrations come to mind: the close of the first movement where the first violins red-line themselves in giving voice to the elation (7'42"ff); the Posthorn episode itself which is suggestive of an 'On the Road' frolic with Sal and Dean, followed by the ecstatic yawp that is the finale. Much the same could be said of the Haffner Serenade, K 250. This composition was written contemporaneously with "Mozart's Eroica" (Einstein) - the Piano Concerto in E Flat, K 271. In contrast to the serenades of his boyhood, it heralds the onset of maturation.
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