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Mozart: Youth Symphonies

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra/Gottfried von der Goltz (Aparté)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
CD_AP215_Mozart

Mozart
Youth Symphonies: Symphony No. 1 in E flat, K16; Symphony No. 4 in D, K19; Symphony in F, KAnh. 223 (K19a); Symphony No. 5 in B flat, K22; Symphony No. 7a in G, K Anh.221/45a (Alte Lambacher); Five Contradanses Nos 1-5, K609
Freiburg Baroque Orchestra/Gottfried von der Goltz
Aparté AP215   64:48 mins

Mozart was all of eight years old when he composed his first symphony, K16. His family was lodging in Soho at the time, right opposite what is now Ronnie Scott’s Club. By the time of the last of the five symphonies recorded here, the Mozarts had moved on from London to The Hague, and Wolfgang’s age had reached double figures. These pieces show the influence of such London-based contemporaries as JC Bach and Carl Friedrich Abel, though they’re not without their individual touches, and the Symphony K22 even has an expressive Andante in what was to become Mozart’s highly personal key of G minor.

Gottfried von der Goltz and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra separate each symphony from the next with an individual dance from a set Mozart composed in the last year of his life, though without much apparent thought about the resulting sequence of keys. The stylistic gulf between the early and late Mozart isn’t as wide as you might think: the dances were strictly written for money and are pretty run-of-the-mill stuff – despite the fact that one of them is based on ‘Non più andrai’ from The Marriage of Figaro.

The Freiburg players clearly have fun with this music, and their performances, including one or two mini-cadenzas and some imaginative decoration, are enjoyable enough. But in the end there’s something metronomic about the music-making, and a good deal more warmth and affection are to be found in the versions of these pieces by Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert (Archiv).

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Misha Donat