LABELS: RCA Red Seal
PERFORMER: Dresden Staatskapelle/Colin Davis
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 56698 2
Twelve of Mozart scintillating Overtures are given superlative performances with the justly famous Staatskapelle of Dresden conducted with great panache by Colin Davis on this marvellous CD. Astonishing to reflect the perfection of performance and recording nowadays. There is never a problem of overall sound, intonation or ensemble; and choosing a version is often very difficult.Here there are two very good rival recordings , the first by the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Leopold Hager on Novalis (1989), which presents twelve Mozart’s Overtures , not the same – we have Mitridate , La Finta Semplice and La Betulia Liberata and miss Davis’s Entführung , La Finta Giardiniera and Il Rè Pastore. But fine though Hager’s readings are, Davis’s orchestra is marginally more virtuoso and his readings more mercurial.
Turning to recordings on original instruments , we have Bruno Weil’s incisive readings (Sony, 1991) of eight Overtures with a filler – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – which many people will already own, fine though Weil’s reading is.It is true that Weil brings a special perspective to these performances which in some ways are more subtle than Davis’s; but unless you want to have Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and period instruments , you can’t lose with Davis and Dresden. HC Robbins Landon