Jodie Devos, Sebastian Wienand and the Millennium Orchestra perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 35

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LABELS: Ricercar
WORKS: The Vienna Concert, 23 March 1783: Symphony No. 35 in D (Haffner); Idomeneo – ‘Se il padre perdei’; Lucio Silla – ‘Parto, m’affretto’; Piano Concerto No. 13 in C, K415; Eine kleine Gigue; Posthorn Serenade No. 9; Variations in G on Gluck’s ‘Unser dummer Pobel meint’; Mia speranza adorata; Don Giovanni – Overture; Die Zauberflöte – Overture
PERFORMER: Jodie Devos (soprano), Sebastian Wienand (fortepiano); Millennium Orchestra/Leonardo Garcia Alarcón


The first movement of a symphony, two arias from different operas, a piano concerto, a short gigue for solo piano, a movement from a serenade, solo piano variations, a concert aria, the three remaining movements of the symphony – it sounds like the programme of an early Prom. Actually it’s the way Mozart chose to present himself to the Viennese public in 1783, with himself at the keyboard. For a composer to make an impression with his versatility and virtuosity such a programme may well serve a useful purpose, but that doesn’t mean that it will provide artistic nutrition 220 years later, performed last May by musicians of whom it can safely be said that they aren’t in Mozart’s class.

This Belgian orchestra is not impressive. The Haffner Symphony sounds like a concerto for timpani, with an absurdly noisy opening flourish, subsiding to a weedy-sounding second subject. Eight items later, when we arrive at the second movement, the performance hasn’t improved. The soprano Jodie Devos is good in her famous aria from Idomeneo and one from Lucio Silla, and in the concert aria ‘Mia speranza adorata’, but the accompaniment is rough, as it is in the Piano Concerto K415. In that performance the fortepiano, played by Sebastian Wienand, is both unpleasantly twangy and distant, as if he were behind the orchestra. He sounds much better in the austere little gigue, and in the rather dull Variations K455.

As makeweights there are routine accounts of the overtures to Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte. I don’t see anyone gaining much pleasure from these discs.


Michael Tanner