WORKS: Serenade in D, K250 (Haffner); March in D, K249
PERFORMER: Geneva CO/Thierry Fischer
CATALOGUE NO: DCCD 010
These two serenades used to be practically unknown fifty years ago, except to specialists and the public at the Salzburg Festival: now they are among Mozartian favourites. There is stiff competition for the Haffner Serenade (not to be confused with the Haffner Symphony, composed six years later) from an old, but very good performance with the Wiener Mozart Ensemble under Boskovsky (Decca); a very aggressive and fast CD by Harnoncourt and the Dresden Staatskapelle, and now this new version by the Geneva Chamber Orchestra under Thierry Fischer with Leo Phillips (violin). The Geneva group has evidently made a special study of this extraordinary piece – Mozart’s first great orchestral work, as Mogens Wøldike, the Danish conductor, used to say (he made a brilliant LP in the Fifties for Vanguard). Fischer’s view is also quick but is less hard-driven than Harnoncourt.
Hogwood’s new Posthorn Serenade is a winner and he also gives you the whole of the ballet music to Idomeneo, in brilliantly elegant and sophisticated readings. Rivals to this performance are Szell on Sony (1969, with Eine kleine Nachtmusik, very good); and, recently, Joshua Rifkin’s interpretation, which was reviewed in December (on period instruments and very well done too). But if you do not yet own this great work then the new Hogwood, on balance, should prove a perfect investment. HC Robbins Landon