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Isabelle Faust: Mozart Violin Concertos


Axiom05
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Harmonia Mundi has just released Isabelle Faust performing all five of Mozart's violin concertos. I have to admit that I am totally unfamiliar with these pieces. Currently the recording is being offered by HDTracks with a new release coupon of 15%. I would welcome comments both about the concertos themselves (are they worth buying) and also about predictions on how Ms. Faust performances might be. As I said, I am unfamiliar with the concertos and the only recording I have of Isabelle Faust is a Schumann Trio (very good BTW). Thanks!

 

Mozart: Violin Concertos | HDtracks - The World's Greatest-Sounding Music Downloads

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Harmonia Mundi has just released Isabelle Faust performing all five of Mozart's violin concertos. I have to admit that I am totally unfamiliar with these pieces. Currently the recording is being offered by HDTracks with a new release coupon of 15%. I would welcome comments both about the concertos themselves (are they worth buying) and also about predictions on how Ms. Faust performances might be. As I said, I am unfamiliar with the concertos and the only recording I have of Isabelle Faust is a Schumann Trio (very good BTW). Thanks!

 

I really like the violin concertos - I think Mozart was in his late teens when he wrote them, so well into his stride. I also greatly admire Isabelle Faust, so should imagine these would be worth getting. I've noticed that eClassical also have a new release discount on this album, so you get the high res download for the same price as CD or MP3. Don't know how this compares with the HDTracks offer, as it's different in the UK. Definitely tempted.

 

eClassical - Mozart: Violin Concertos

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I really like the violin concertos - I think Mozart was in his late teens when he wrote them, so well into his stride. I also greatly admire Isabelle Faust, so should imagine these would be worth getting. I've noticed that eClassical also have a new release discount on this album, so you get the high res download for the same price as CD or MP3. Don't know how this compares with the HDTracks offer, as it's different in the UK. Definitely tempted.

eClassical - Mozart: Violin Concertos

Thanks for your response. FYI, HDTracks has the download for $17.98 and the 15% storewide coupon is good until midnight tonight. This is a better price than eClassical.

 

Cheers,

Bob

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Thanks Bob, frustratingly the HDTracks UK website isn't showing the album and the US website keeps bouncing me back to the UK site. I've decided to go with the eClassical offer, as I had a sudden urge to listen to it tonight.

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Thanks Bob, frustratingly the HDTracks UK website isn't showing the album and the US website keeps bouncing me back to the UK site. I've decided to go with the eClassical offer, as I had a sudden urge to listen to it tonight.

 

Please let us know what you think of it. I will probably buy it as well.

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Thanks Bob, frustratingly the HDTracks UK website isn't showing the album and the US website keeps bouncing me back to the UK site. I've decided to go with the eClassical offer, as I had a sudden urge to listen to it tonight.

 

Maybe a US vs EU release date thing (although eclassical being Swedish doesn't support that thought).

 

In any case I'll wait until they show up on Qobuz. I'm a huge fan of Faust but not such a great admirer of Mozart's violin concertos.

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I've listened to about half of the album and it's definitely worth getting, if you like the Mozart violin concertos. Lovely, clean performances, well up to Isabelle Faust's usual standard, and would be my first choice amongst other versions I've heard. Is there any way you could sample one of the concertos?

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Maybe a US vs EU release date thing (although eclassical being Swedish doesn't support that thought).

 

In any case I'll wait until they show up on Qobuz. I'm a huge fan of Faust but not such a great admirer of Mozart's violin concertos.

As I recall, you are not a huge fan of Haydn.

I've listened to about half of the album and it's definitely worth getting, if you like the Mozart violin concertos. Lovely, clean performances, well up to Isabelle Faust's usual standard, and would be my first choice amongst other versions I've heard. Is there any way you could sample one of the concertos?

In order to appreciate Mozart's Violin Concertos, you really have to appreciate Haydn's music, which is all about subtlety. This recording, available to listen in its entirety through Tidal, is all about subtlety. Faust is the perfect interpreter. The cadenzas, which were not composed by Mozart, provide a jagged edge to the music.

 

"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 

 

 

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As I recall, you are not a huge fan of Haydn.

 

In order to appreciate Mozart's Violin Concertos, you really have to appreciate Haydn's music, which is all about subtlety. This recording, available to listen in its entirety through Tidal, is all about subtlety. Faust is the perfect interpreter. The cadenzas, which were not composed by Mozart, provide a jagged edge to the music.

 

Correct, Haydn isn't high on my list of priorities.

 

However, Mozart usually is, just not his violin concertos. These are really works of a very young Mozart. Not bad, but he's done so much better in his later years.

 

That said, I'll check it out the moment it finally appears on Qobuz, and will give it a close listen.

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Correct, Haydn isn't high on my list of priorities.

 

However, Mozart usually is, just not his violin concertos. These are really works of a very young Mozart. Not bad, but he's done so much better in his later years.

 

That said, I'll check it out the moment it finally appears on Qobuz, and will give it a close listen.

 

Exactly my point. As a young Mozart, he simply seeks to emulate his friend and teacher, Haydn. Mozart's later works blossom into something sublime. This album includes some later works (especially Rondo, C, K.373) which contrast this.

 

When you have a serious listen, I would be interested in your take on the cadenzas. They sort of "don't fit".

 

"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 

 

 

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Exactly my point. As a young Mozart, he simply seeks to emulate his friend and teacher, Haydn. Mozart's later works blossom into something sublime. This album includes some later works (especially Rondo, C, K.373) which contrast this.

 

When you have a serious listen, I would be interested in your take on the cadenzas. They sort of "don't fit".

 

Got it now.

 

Although sometimes I feel Mozart got even more influenced by CPE Bach than Haydn.

 

In any case I'm desperately waiting for the album to be available on Qobuz.

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FYI for those on Qobuz. I have sent the customer service a request today why this album still isn't available on Qobuz. Turns out they have a backlog of new releases that are not yet published as they recently migrated to a new hosting solution.

 

They promised it should be available there soon.

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The Faust Mozart violin concerti are available at eClassical.com. You can listen as much as you want in 30 sec. chunks clicking the play button at the end of each chunk.

 

I listened to much of 3 and 4 and some of the slow movement of 5. I decided not to purchase the set. A bit too much Harnoncourt-like pulling, tuging and accenting in the accompaniment.

 

The Tognetti / Australian Chamber Orchestra set is one of my favorites. Also at eClassical.com. Brisk, hip influenced outer movements with accents that don't disturb the flow of the music. The beauty of the slow movements (especially 3 and 4) comes through powerfully.

 

Overall, the Grumiaux/Davis set in 70s Philips sound remains my very favorite set. Great sense of Mozart style and the beauty of the slow movements is unmatched by other sets.

 

Heifetz is first rate in 4 and in the Sinfonia Concertante K.364 with Primrose.

 

Not all Mozart's works from his teen years are of great interest to me but there are some works of striking beauty from those years. The Salzburg Symphonies (also called Divertimenti) K.136-8 remains favorites for me 40+ years after I first heard them. I never tire of symphonies 25,28 and 29. The violin concerti are not all the same in style; No. 1 is in an older tradition. 2 sounds transitional. 3,4 and 5 are much more in Mozart's own style.

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The Tognetti / Australian Chamber Orchestra set is one of my favorites. Also at eClassical.com. Brisk, hip influenced outer movements with accents that don't disturb the flow of the music. The beauty of the slow movements (especially 3 and 4) comes through powerfully.

 

Overall, the Grumiaux/Davis set in 70s Philips sound remains my very favorite set. Great sense of Mozart style and the beauty of the slow movements is unmatched by other sets.

 

Heifetz is first rate in 4 and in the Sinfonia Concertante K.364 with Primrose.

 

Not all Mozart's works from his teen years are of great interest to me but there are some works of striking beauty from those years. The Salzburg Symphonies (also called Divertimenti) K.136-8 remains favorites for me 40+ years after I first heard them. I never tire of symphonies 25,28 and 29. The violin concerti are not all the same in style; No. 1 is in an older tradition. 2 sounds transitional. 3,4 and 5 are much more in Mozart's own style.

 

I heartily second the above comments. Haven't heard the Faust, but my favorite set is the Grumiaux. He also played many of the Mozart Chamber pieces, leading various groups, also on Philips. I don't know the digital forms, but I have the vinyl of just about all of them. The Marriner ASMF K.136-8 on Argo is also very fine. It was engineered by my friend Mike Mailes back in the '60's and Winston Ma released a fine remastered version on CD on his FIM label. We included several chunks of the album in my Decca book. The Heifetz Sinfonia Concertante has the great violist William Primrose and is a real treat. I see that Richard Tognetti is performing more in Europe, sometime playing without his Australian Chamber Orchestra.

 

I got to see Isabelle Faust up close and personal in London three or four years ago. She was performing in the redone bombed out church on Old Street, now operated by the LSO as LSO St. Lukes. The venue is small, fewer than 400 seats. The Friday 1:30PM concerts are only 10GBP and there is open seating. I got there early and took a front row center seat, no more than 20 feet from Faust. The performer stands on a platform which is less than a foot high (IIRC), so she is at the level of the audience in this flat floored venue. She played some of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas in the hour long concert. A real treat to see her that close and feel the vibrations of her marvelous instrument.

 

Larry

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The Faust Mozart violin concerti are available at eClassical.com. You can listen as much as you want in 30 sec. chunks clicking the play button at the end of each chunk.

 

I listened to much of 3 and 4 and some of the slow movement of 5. I decided not to purchase the set. A bit too much Harnoncourt-like pulling, tuging and accenting in the accompaniment.

 

The Tognetti / Australian Chamber Orchestra set is one of my favorites. Also at eClassical.com. Brisk, hip influenced outer movements with accents that don't disturb the flow of the music. The beauty of the slow movements (especially 3 and 4) comes through powerfully.

 

Overall, the Grumiaux/Davis set in 70s Philips sound remains my very favorite set. Great sense of Mozart style and the beauty of the slow movements is unmatched by other sets.

 

Heifetz is first rate in 4 and in the Sinfonia Concertante K.364 with Primrose.

 

Not all Mozart's works from his teen years are of great interest to me but there are some works of striking beauty from those years. The Salzburg Symphonies (also called Divertimenti) K.136-8 remains favorites for me 40+ years after I first heard them. I never tire of symphonies 25,28 and 29. The violin concerti are not all the same in style; No. 1 is in an older tradition. 2 sounds transitional. 3,4 and 5 are much more in Mozart's own style.

I agree the Tognetti is very good, but personally prefer Carmignola with Abbado by a slight margin: see also here:

https://musicophilesblog.com/2015/10/27/my-must-have-mozart-albums/

 

And yes, eclassical allows you to listen to the entire thing, but I'm to lazy to click every 30 seconds, and prefer to wait until Qobuz has it on unlimited redbook streaming. I can then listen to it several times and make up my own mind whether I want to purchase it.

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My comments in bold.

 

I heartily second the above comments. Haven't heard the Faust, but my favorite set is the Grumiaux. He also played many of the Mozart Chamber pieces, leading various groups, also on Philips. I don't know the digital forms, but I have the vinyl of just about all of them.

 

The Marriner ASMF K.136-8 on Argo is also very fine. It was engineered by my friend Mike Mailes back in the '60's and Winston Ma released a fine remastered version on CD on his FIM label.

 

My very first recording of K.136-8. We bought that Argo LP in the late 60s or early 70s. Then I bought a cheap Nonesuch LP with the Ristenpart / Chamber Orchestra of the Saar. Very enjoyable too. A 70s analog recording by I Musici was a favorite in early CD days. Sandor Vegh / Camerata Academica Salzburg has become a favorite in the last 10 years.

 

 

 

We included several chunks of the album in my Decca book.

 

What book? I'm interested.

 

The Heifetz Sinfonia Concertante has the great violist William Primrose and is a real treat. I see that Richard Tognetti is performing more in Europe, sometime playing without his Australian Chamber Orchestra.

 

I got to see Isabelle Faust up close and personal in London three or four years ago. She was performing in the redone bombed out church on Old Street, now operated by the LSO as LSO St. Lukes. The venue is small, fewer than 400 seats. The Friday 1:30PM concerts are only 10GBP and there is open seating. I got there early and took a front row center seat, no more than 20 feet from Faust. The performer stands on a platform which is less than a foot high (IIRC), so she is at the level of the audience in this flat floored venue. She played some of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas in the hour long concert. A real treat to see her that close and feel the vibrations of her marvelous instrument.

 

Sounds like an experience you won't forget.

 

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I agree the Tognetti is very good, but personally prefer Carmignola with Abbado by a slight margin: see also here:

https://musicophilesblog.com/2015/10/27/my-must-have-mozart-albums/

 

And yes, eclassical allows you to listen to the entire thing, but I'm to lazy to click every 30 seconds, and prefer to wait until Qobuz has it on unlimited redbook streaming. I can then listen to it several times and make up my own mind whether I want to purchase it.

 

I have the Carmignola too. I like the recordings that Abbado did with his Orchestra Mozart group. Bought all the Mozart, Haydn and a Schubert. After reading Astrotoy's comments on the Marriner / ASMF recording of K.136-8, I listened to that recording. After reading your reference to the Carmignola recording, I listened to VC no. 5. A fine performance. I find that 5 is harder to make worthwhile than 3 or 4.

 

Good recordings in your list. The Prague Symphony in the Mackerras/Prague CO set is my very favorite and the disk with 25,28 and 29 from that set are favorites too. I like the Scottish CO set for the other symphonies that they recorded together.

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Thanks to everyone for the responses to my original post. There are some great comments and recommendations here. In the end I decided to pass on the Faust recording, at least for now; I still haven't made up my mind about these concertos. BTW, the Daily Deal at eClassical today is Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 23 with Brautigam in 24/96, less than $6 USD!

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you for your review. As always, I enjoyed reading it.

 

I totally agree with you, but my personal rating would be 5 stars. I bought the album in the end of October and in my database I immediately flagged it with r2d4 (record to die for) - only around 10% get this award ;). It is my favorite Faust album until now (I really like Mozart very much in general). She played it very well and she did it right, she started at the beginning. I am sure, some more great Mozart albums will follow.

 

Finally, Harmonia Mundi really delivers the best SQ at the moment. They must have a real genius behind the recording equipment.

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