BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21. Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36.
MOZART: Symphony No. 15 in G, KV 124. Symphony No. 16 in C, KV 128.
Symphony No. 17 in G, KV 129. Symphony No. 18 in F, KV 130.
BACH-SCHUMANN: St. John Passion, BWV 245
Some months ago we mentioned a Tacet issue of Beethoven's Symphonies 7 and 8 played by the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Wojciech Rajski (REVIEW). Now we have the second installment in the series (labeled "Tacet's Beethoven Symhonies") and all of the positive comments on the previous issue relate as well to this splendid release—vital, dynamic performances, superbly played by the expert orchestra, and recorded with magnificent presence and beauty of sound. Outstanding in every way! For information on acquiring this disc, contact TACET
Adám Fischer's Mozart SACD is identified as Volume 5 but appears to be the first issued. It contains symphonies 15-18, all composed in Salzburg in 1772. Fischer describes each symphony as follows: KV 124 is "Youthful Rebellion," KV 128 is "The Most Peculiar," KV 129 is "Music for Taunting," and KV 120 is "The Most Serene." CD notes are rather odd. Claus Johansen writes extensively on the political climate in 1772, and Mozart's use of the oboe in his writing. Fischer is a Mozart specialist and has recorded a number of the operas. He leads spirited performances of these early symphonies using urtext of the New Mozart Edition, and SACD engineering is effective with performers in front. One might question why another symphony wasn't included—less than an hour of playing time here. However, the SACD, while not budget-priced, isn't as expensive as most.
Conductor Hermann Max specializes in music of the Bach family and already has recorded St. John Passion for Capriccio with Rheinische Kantorei and Das Kleine Konzart. Now, on this new cpo set, we have the same work in the 1851 version by Robert Schumann, but with a different set of soloists. The St .John Passion has always been overshadowed by the later St. Matthew Passion, perhaps rightfully so. Robert Schumann had a great interest in it and arranged for a performance in Düsseldorf. However, for various reasons he made many changes in the arias and orchestration. cpo's new set contains detailed information about all of the circumstances including track-by-track written comments by Max which doubtless will be of great interest to many listeners. The performance is excellent, and the 5.0 surround sound, recorded in Basilika Knechtsteden in September 2006, beautifully captures resonant acoustics of the site. Complete texts in German and English are provided.
R.E.B. (June 2007)