Mozart: Symphonies Nos 25, 26 & 29

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LABELS: Virgin
WORKS: Symphonies Nos 25, 26 & 29
PERFORMER: Le Cercle de l’Harmonie/Jérémie Rhorer
CATALOGUE NO: 234 8682


Jérémie Rohrer and the Cercle de l’Harmonie previously provided stylish support for a Mozart recital by the soprano Diana Damrau. Here, they sandwich one of the least familiar among Mozart’s earlier symphonies between the two best-known of them.

The seldom-performed Symphony No. 26 is a single-movement piece, and Mozart later pressed it into service as an overture when he revised his incidental music for Thamos, King of Egypt. Its quick outer sections aren’t terribly distinguished, but the C minor Andante, with its halting phrases played in imitation by first and second violins, is a miniature forerunner of the great tragic slow movement from the Jeunehomme Piano Concerto, K271.

These are, in the main, finely-judged performances, and there are certain moments, such as the snarling crescendo on all four horns that catapults the recapitulation in the opening movement of the turbulent Symphony No. 25, that sound particularly effective.

However, a few of Rohrer’s own interpretative touches are not quite so convincing: the curious diminuendo in the forceful theme of the minuet from No. 25, for instance, or the sudden fade-out in the last of the rushing violin scales in No. 29’s finale. It’s a pity, too, that Rohrer chooses not to observe the second-half repeat in the outer movements of the full-scale symphonies, each of which has a substantial coda whose effect would have been enhanced by the prior repeat.


 All the same, it’s hard not to respond positively to these vivid and lively accounts. Misha Donat