Mozart: Violin Concertos; Sinfonia Concertante in E flat, K364

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: DG
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Violin Concertos; Sinfonia Concertante in E flat, K364
PERFORMER: Giuliana Carmignola (violin), Danusha Waskiewicz (viola); Orchestra Mozart/Claudio Abbado
CATALOGUE NO: 477 7371

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Giuliana Carmignola is much more associated with Baroque repertoire than with Classical. It’s good to be able to report that the qualities that made his Locatelli and Vivaldi so gripping are all here as well. There’s the complete technical fluidity, at the service of a lively musical imagination, and he’s backed up by some superbly shaped orchestral playing under Abbado, whose engagement with historically informed performance is now well-established. Right from the opening tutti of the First Concerto, it’s clear that he’s lavishing all his powers of balance, phrasing and charm on the music. And neither conductor nor soloist is a slouch: the finale of this concerto sets off like a rocket, and stays tightly rhythmic throughout. Fine though the first two concertos are, Mozart found himself in the Third – and you can hear Carmignola and Abbado responding with a sense of adventure to a new world opening up. Clearly both have spent much time re-examining the music – phrasing is enterprising, sometimes not what you might expect, but always convincing. And much as I have praised Julia Fischer’s performances, these are even finer – more whole, more profound, more inevitable – and quite as well recorded. Although the slow movements might seem fast in purely metronomic terms, there’s always space for the expressive point. That’s especially true in the slow movement of the Sinfonia Concertante – a true andante, rather than an indulgent adagio – where flexibility of phrasing, rubato and vibrato come together to let us glimpse the perfection that is Mozart. Martin Cotton