Mozart: Sinfonia concertante, K364; Violin Concerto No. 2 in D, K211; Rondo in C, K373; Adagio in E, K261

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Sinfonia concertante, K364; Violin Concerto No. 2 in D, K211; Rondo in C, K373; Adagio in E, K261
PERFORMER: Augustin Dumay (violin), Veronika Hagen (viola); Camerata Academica Salzburg
CATALOGUE NO: 459 675-2
These highly accomplished performances benefit from mellow sound in which the soloists have been nicely brought to the front. The silky-smooth playing of the Camerata Academica Salzburg is not likely to appeal to advocates of period performance, however, and while there’s often a commendable attention to detail in the ensemble’s approach – especially in the Sinfonia concertante’s occasionally idiosyncratic use of dynamics – their overriding concern with beauty of tone can lead to a loss of definition.

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Similarly, Augustin Dumay’s honeyed tone is an aural treat, and matched for quality by that of violist Veronika Hagen in the duo work. The limitation of his approach in the Concerto and the Adagio is that the Olympian detachment of his playing can be almost too ethereal to allow for straightforward expression of the music.

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In the subtler, deeper Sinfonia concertante – one of the earliest of Mozart’s masterpieces – the results are more convincing, with the rapport between the soloists producing exceptional results, particularly in the first movement cadenza. In the slow movement the players’ reticence suits the veiled emotions of the music, though in the more extrovert finale the balance is tipped just that bit too far in the direction of discretion. But taken as a whole this remains an achievement of quality, and one worthy to be compared with a classic recording of the piece by Igor and David Oistrakh made back in 1963. George Hall