Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 in G, K216; Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K546; Symphony No. 41 (Jupiter)

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: Violin Concerto No. 3 in G, K216; Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K546; Symphony No. 41 (Jupiter)
PERFORMER: Berlin PO/Itzhak Perlman (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: 5 57418 2
This disc is beautifully recorded, the Berlin Philharmonic plays well and Itzhak Perlman clearly loves Mozart. On their own terms, these performances offer enjoyment, whether in the power and momentum that accumulate in the finale of the Jupiter Symphony, or in the ripe bass sound on display in numerous places (particularly in the C minor Adagio and Fugue). What I find worrisome is Perlman’s stylistic complacency. Heartfelt they may be, but imaginative these performances are not; apart from a few moments of generalised excitement, they seem heavy and featureless. In the Jupiter Symphony, Perlman’s phrasing, dynamic contrast and sense of singing line seem monochromatic compared to the work of Neville Marriner (hardly a finicky interpreter); in addition, the intimacy Marriner achieves in the slow movement eludes Perlman at this stage of his career as a conductor. But it is not his relative inexperience in that capacity that is solely to blame: Henryk Szeryng and Alexander Gibson offer an account of the Concerto that conveys far more vivacity, gracefulness and infectious appeal than does Perlman’s new version. Perlman has often created magic by sounding natural and unforced, but despite his good intentions the results here verge on the bland. David Breckbill

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